“We need to talk about skills”: EuropeOn spreading the word at 3 different events in September

Increasingly, there is a general realisation that beyond measures such as financial incentives to end-users, funding of innovation or simplification of permitting procedures, policymakers must also tackle the skills and workers shortages for a successful energy transition. This has been clearly taken into consideration by the European Parliament in Strasburg earlier in September (see our dedicated article). Almost simultaneously, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its first report on World Energy Employment, then SolarPower Europe’s second EU Solar Jobs Report came out and, lastly, President Ursula Von der Leyen announced that 2023 would be the European Year of Skills.

EuropeOn, through the voice of Secretary General Julie Beaufils, was also ready to spread the word throughout September.

During one hour, she was invited to the “Watt Matters” podcast by Foresight Climate & Energy’s hosts, David Weston, Michaela Holl and Jan Rosenow. How electrical contractors contribute to the energy transition? Is the skills gap already a reality? What can Member States and the EU do? How can we attract new people, and especially women, in the sector? Click HERE to hear the answers to those questions!

Later this month, EuropeOn’s Secretary General took part in a webinar presenting SolarPower Europe’s second EU Solar Jobs Report, along with Santina Bertulessi, Deputy Head of Commissioner Nicolas Schmit’s cabinet, and MEP Jutta Paulus. The report evidences that, in the span of 1 year, and despite Covid-related disruptions, in 2021, the solar sector employed 108,000 more full time employees (FTEs) in the EU compared to 2020 (bringing the total up to 466,000 FTEs in 2021).

To conclude the month, EuropeOn also took the floor at the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), which is the biggest annual event on energy taking place in Brussels. Organised by the European Commission, it was the first in-person (and hybrid) edition since 2019. Julie Beaufils took part in a panel titled “Shaping the Solar Terawatt Age – Implementing the EU Solar Strategy”. SolarPower Europe’s CEO Walburga Hemetsberger was moderating the discussion, and several representatives of the European Commission, a think-tank, a company and DSOs were also at the table. For EuropeOn, it was a momentous occasion to convey the electrical contracting sector’s feedback and asks on skills but also supply shortages related to the energy transition. Finally, EuropeOn was also present at another EUSEW event, which was part of the extended programme. Titled “Energy data for all? How access to energy data can empower consumers and drive the green transition” and moderated by ESMIG’s Managing Director Tomás Llobet, it was an opportunity to engage on the topic of the digitalisation of the energy sector, in anticipation of a new Action Plan that the Commission will release in the coming days.