The International Clean Energy Challenge, organised from 22-26 July 2019 in Upper Austria by the OÖ Energiesparverband (ESV), brought together 64 highly-qualified young professionals from more than 30 countries and 11 partner companies for a cutting-edge event of collaborative innovation.
The ESV, the regional energy agency of Upper Austria, supports energy technology companies in increasing competitiveness and market leadership in the context of the Cleantech-Cluster (CTC), a network of 250 businesses in Upper Austria. Acting on this ambition, the ESV came up with a novel event that encouraged creative thinking and problem-solving.
In diversified and interdisciplinary teams, 64 bright young minds (under 33 years old) from all over the world tackled real-life challenges presented by the partner companies to improve their products are services or create new ones. Topics addressed energy efficiency and renewable energy in industry, buildings, e-mobility and more. Each of the teams was assigned to a specific company challenge, typically consisting of a service, concept or market that the partner organisation is keen on developing or expanding. Decentralised energy generation, decarbonised energy systems and digital solutions were key themes.
Over the course of the event, they were guided through a dynamic and structured innovation process. Company representatives were present and offered support and professional coaching. As the grand finale, the groups presented their solutions to a jury of management-level representatives and symbolic awards were granted.
This original new concept attracted strong interest. 200 high-potential candidates from 43 countries applied. The selected participants consisted mostly of young professionals working in businesses, industry, energy agencies, associations, public bodies and research institutions and some students in advanced education. They came from a diversity of educational backgrounds including engineering, economy, architecture, business administration, chemistry, mathematics, law, political science and more. Representatives from 4 FEDARENE members (Paris Region Energy Agency, Alba Local Energy Agency, 3 Counties Energy Agency and Severn Wye Energy Agency) and a FEDARENE employee were among the participants.
The event was a great success and highlighted how driving the energy transition and doing business can go hand-in-hand. By helping the companies develop comprehensive solutions and new business models, the ESV contributed to making the clean energy transition reality within their organisations, Upper Austria and beyond.
“It was a pretty cool event – from start to finish! Everyone involved benefited from this amazing experience, including myself.” – Christiane Egger, Deputy Director of the ESV and initiator of the event.