With economy and ecology no longer enemies, it’s an exciting and prolific era for the field of sustainable energy. We can now build sustainable energy solutions that come at a lower cost than traditional ones. Dr Frank Gielen, Education Director of EIT InnoEnergy, shares: “This is a great tipping point as now industry takes a real interest – and in turn, industry needs the jobs and talent to make things happen.” It’s the perfect time to discover how you can be a part of this fast-growing energy transition sector, and when it comes to deciding where to study – Europe offers three key advantages:
Europe is leading in many areas of sustainable energy. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that almost half of the European Union (EU) member states have achieved or were very close to achieving their 2020 renewable energy targets already in 2019. The European Green Deal, from Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission), outlines a vision for the future where Europe aims to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To reach this goal each region offers a particular speciality, for example, Scandinavia – where students interested in the best implementation of electrical vehicle (EV) networks can see how they have achieved the highest ratio of EVs per person globally. With substantial support from both governmental agencies, investors and the general population together with top-ranked universities and business schools – Europe is where a lot of inspiring new technologies and opportunities are emerging. EIT InnoEnergy Master School student Laura Ostrowska highlights, “EIT InnoEnergy gave me access to two great European universities where I upskilled my engineering competencies and also gave me tools to enhance a set of soft skills, which engineering students usually don’t focus on.”
The Clean Energy for all Europeans Package is now complete and offers an excellent opportunity for Europe to keep their edge in this sector and grow their job market. This comprehensive update to the energy policy framework will expedite the EU’s transition away from fossil fuels towards cleaner alternatives. Dr Gielen explains, “The energy industry is at the core of the actions against climate change. The new legislation will be a catalyst to accelerate the energy transition. Those two elements combined should set the stage to move faster towards a world where economy and ecology go hand in hand. This is a real driver for new business and jobs, presenting many opportunities for both start-ups and established players.” Studying in Europe offers you access and the advantage to work with these industry innovators and leaders during your studies and even get hired before your graduate.
Europe offers a diverse mix of energy fields from hydrogen energy storage in the Netherlands to offshore wind farms in Portugal – and all the countries in between, which are finding their own unique solutions. Each region has access to different resources, and the EU allows for a uniting of these resources, technologies and workforce. This union adds to further developments in various fields, for example, the European Battery Alliance (EBA250) which was launched in 2017. This strategic alliance creates a competitive manufacturing chain in Europe for sustainable battery cells – to gain a leading position in the global battery market race and to accelerate innovation. Examples like this explain why renewable energy jobs in Europe are flourishing, with over a million in Europe as of 2016. Also, no other part of the world can provide the cultural diversity that Europe offers. EIT InnoEnergy Master School student Emiliano Degasperi explains his choice to study in Europe, “I wanted to move away from my home country, to visit new places and meet different people. I believe that travelling and being exposed to such great diversity is an essential part of our personal development.”
As Dr Gielen points out, “The energy industry with the support of EU policy has the experience and the resources to drive and lead this change process, and the human capital is the final necessary component.” The sustainable energy revolution has already begun – now put yourself in the most advantageous location to join it!