It's not news that the transition to clean and sustainable energy needs to happen fast and at all scales. Yet, this transition has been slow and often dominated by large corporations. So, while the fuel is different, the energy system is still basically the same - highly centralized and benefiting the same players, with very few local benefits.
The beauty of renewable energy sources is that they are decentralized by nature and offer opportunities for a more democratic and fair energy system, where citizens are not merely passive consumers, but can play an active role, by producing their own energy, either individually or in collaboration with other citizens through community groups or renewable energy cooperatives.
Such models have impacts that go beyond clean energy production and provide socio-economic benefits, such as the creation of local jobs, the generation of revenue that can be reinvested locally, increased energy savings, as well as, socio-psychological benefits by empowering citizens and fostering more resilient communities.
The Sustainable Energy Youth Network (SEYN) aims to empower young people to take an active role in the energy transition by building young people's capacity in developing small scale RE energy projects.
The idea behind SEYN started taking shape in mid-2014 at the "Future of Europe" youth Forum in Thessaloniki, Greece. Scrappy and resourceful - and thanks to the precious contribution of supporters such as the Heinrich Böll Stiftung - SEYN successfully organized three Energy Academies between 2015 and 2016, in Croatia, Greece and Spain.
Since 2016 our education programmes have grown and diversified with several editions of the hands-on "Energy Mastercourses" taking place in Greece. In 2018, we were proud to be finalists of the MIT Climate Co-lab contest , which helped us to further grow our network.
The end of 2019 was a turning point, and with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS-RECAP) we held our first programme outside Europe - the Youth Energy Academy (YEA) in Thailand - that combined the approach of the previous Energy Academies with the practical Do-it-Yourself workshops on building solar energy systems. This continued in 2020 with mentoring activities and a Virtual YEA for teams in Asia.
In early 2021, SEYN was formally established as an organization in Europe (a non-profit association based in Portugal).
OUR VISION AND MISSION
Vision: A world in which all humans have access to reliable energy and can start locally-appropriate, self-sustaining, and environmentally and socially-responsible projects.
Mission: To foster youthful, active, and collaborative citizens who take a holistic approach towards energy and contribute to sustainable transitions in their communities.
SEYN was founded and operates based on the seven Cooperative Principles, outlined by the International Cooperative Alliance. We promote solidarity and transnational collaboration, by sharing best practices and creating a culture of civic engagement across borders.
Through training, mentoring, knowledge sharing and a variety of tools and methods, SEYN equips young students and professionals with the tools to organize, develop and manage sustainability projects, while closing the gap in active citizen participation that currently exists in society.
SEYN has an innovative approach in the way it combines the power of education, youth and direct renewable energy (RE) projects. The Energy Academies and the Energy Mastercourses provide a unique setting to learn about setting up RE cooperatives, social business models, innovative financing, as well as, installing a solar PV, Do-it-Yourself solar heaters or biodigestores. By teaching soft and hard skills, SEYN does more than raising awareness about climate change and energy, it actually gives people the control and the confidence to take action, to start a project and to involve their communities. The positive environment created in the training events and the sense of achievement of actually building RE installations is a unique feature of SEYN’s work, with benefits that extend beyond climate action. By empowering and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, we are also building skills for young people to take an active role in society.
We intend to achieve this by focusing our work on three key focus areas: Education, building the Community and supporting the development of Projects.