By Giulia, Italy
I am proud of having lived in Scotland for many years, a country that is striving to gain 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. Although I studied in Aberdeen, the Oil and Gas Capital of Europe, I realized shortly after my graduation that renewable energy was the way forward. Community energy projects, where communities fund the assets to produce renewable energy by themselves, are getting popular in Scotland. My two favourite ones are the Aberdeen Community Hydro Projects and the Levenmouth Energy Project, to which I personally contributed. The latter is a unique circular economy project which produces green energy to power one of Europe’s largest hydrogen vehicles fleets. However, due to the current electricity regulatory framework, it is still hard to fully become “prosumers”, and to be involved in both production and consumption of energy at the same time. Therefore, I developed a business idea to bring together small producers of renewable energy (i.e. families with solar panels on the roof of their houses) so that they can sell their surplus electricity. I did this through developing a platform which uses blockchain – the technology through which the tracking of electricity and payments from energy producers to the final consumers can be done safely and securely. With this, even small producers can enter the electricity market and ultimately contribute to achieving affordable and clean energy for all.
I presented this business idea to the UN Innovation Lab for Sustainable Development Goals, the first of its kind. A year later, I presented my idea at Microsoft Italia through a contest where I became a finalist. Inspired by the energy of like-minded young Italians, I co-created YOUNG – Youth Organisation for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the first Italian NGO dedicated to the SDGs. I presented our organisation at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2018, I also participated as a youth speaker to G-STIC, the Global Sustainability Technology and Innovation Conference, with the UN Major Group of Children and Youth where I talked about energy positive communities like the Scottish green hydrogen project I helped commission. Getting involved in these networks is an important step in establishing successful partnerships to realise the Sustainable Development Goals.