Our final event: Putting people at the heart of energy transitions

Together, we can make a change. This was the message of our final event, that took place in Brussels on April 28. We co-organized this event with our sister projects - Comets, SocialRES and SONNET, joining together the knowledge and ideas gained in the past 3 years. In the event, we were joined by European Commission representatives from DG ENER, DG CLIMA, DG RTD, CINEA and the Joint Research Centre.

Two parallel events in Brussels and Antwerp were developing interesting and thought-provoking disscusions, which were followed by an audience online. Through panel discussions, workshops, a keynote and a policy dialogue, a broad range of experts engaged with one another online and in-person at the conference. 

The highlight of the project was a Joint Policy Dialgue, which took place in the Slovenina Permanent Representation in Brussels. A Policy Brief, developed by all four projects (NEWCOMERS, SocialRES, COMETS and SONNET) was presented. The Policy Brief synthesises evidence from the past three years of work. In particular, it highlights: i) the diversity and relevance of social innovation in energy (SIE); ii) citizens’ perceptions of and support for SIE; iii) social benefits of SIE; iv) the impacts of social innovation on energy transitions; and v) policies and institutions for SIE. These research results are furthermore used to formulate a series of policy recommendations for the European Commission, as well as for national and local policy makers.

The Policy Brief presentation was opened by a thoughtprovoking speech from Rosalinde van der Vlies (Director Clean Planet, DG RTD). Following the presentation, led by consortium partners from all four projects, representatives from DG CLIMA, DG ENERG, the European Joint Research Centre, REScoop.eu, and Women Engage for a Common Future responded to and discussed the Brief and its call for the future of energy transition. 

In the afternoon, NEWCOMERS and COMETS consortium partners presented a more detailed look into the results of the projects in two sessions. Interesting questions were raised by participants online and in-person, which lead to many fruitful discussions both at the event and after.

Overall, the event was a great success, with joined forces of four projects, promoting active, citizen-led energy transition.