The Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT-RRCAP) and the Sustainable Energy Youth Network (SEYN), with the support of the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, organized the first Youth Energy Academy that took place at the Asian Institute of Technology in Pathum Thani, Thailand, between 28 October and 3 November 2019.
Why a Youth Energy Academy?
Communities and cities in Asia are already experiencing the consequences of climate change. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all needs a faster and more inclusive energy transition. With a growing population, higher energy demand and increasingly harsher climate change impacts, Asia needs to focus more on decentralized renewable energy (DRE) approaches. DRE provides crosscutting benefits, including providing energy to the many millions of people that still lack access, especially in rural and inaccessible areas such as small islands, while also offering possibilities for community development.
The challenges, the scale of changes required, and the potential benefits of more citizen participation call for different forms of engagement from the individual to collective levels. The Youth Energy Academy explores these opportunities, highlighting the new role of the “prosumer” (producer + consumer), renewable energy community groups and cooperatives, entrepreneurship, and others, from practical perspective.
Young people have a crucial stake in the future. For their energy and creativity, there is great potential in involving young women and men in the energy transition, regardless of their background, educational or professional path. In efforts to address the gender gap in energy issues, we encourage young women to apply.
Where and when?
The Academy was held at the campus of the Asian Institute of Technology, in Pathum Thani, Thailand (40km north of Bangkok), between 28 October and 3 November 2019.
The 7-Day Youth Energy Academy consisted of:
- Theoretical morning sessions that aimed to provide background on the social, technical, policy and financial considerations of decentralized renewable energy approaches, as outlined below:
Day 1 The Energy Trilemma
Climate Change, Energy Access, and Development
Day 2 Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE)
Technologies in addressing the Energy Trilemma
Day 3 People Power
The role of individuals & communities in DRE: Examples from Thailand and around the globe
Day 4 DRE on the ground
Field trip to a local DRE project
Day 5 Social Business
The role of social entrepreneurship models for renewable energy
Day 6 Mobilizing resources
Sources of funding for CRE and tips for drafting quality project proposals
Day 7 From idea to reality
Lessons learned from CRE Project Implementation: drivers & barriers for success
- Practical Afternoon sessions throughout the week were dedicated to hands-on workshops where participants built simple solar energy systems to be shared with nearby communities.
- Informal evening sessions provided an additional learning opportunity to learn through interaction in a social and informal atmosphere.
The Academy used participative, non-formal, and empowering methods aiming to boost creativity and inspire action. The cases and examples showed came from knowledgeable, like-minded people, while also being realistic by illustrating the many challenges that are inherent to all projects.
The morning sessions used interactive presentations, group discussions, case studies and a field trip to show a real-life community energy project. Afternoon workshops gave participants the opportunity to build their own solar energy systems using "Do-it-Yourself" (DIY) and "Do-it-Together" (DIT) approaches, appropriate technology and open source available designs, while evenings created a space for debating and networking with practitioners and experts, working informally in groups, or watching documentary films on relevant topics.
A diverse group of around 20 young male and female participants, from countries in South and Southeast Asia, who showed enormous passion and commitment to advance renewable energy, sustainability, community development, entrepreneurship, climate action, or related topics.
Full scholarships covered the costs of travel, shared on-campus accommodation, food, materials, and training and activities for selected participants.
A second edition of the Youth Energy Academy, once again supported by KAS-RECAP, is being planned for late 2020.