Students negotiate Austrian and European energy mix 2030

7/10/2012Vienna

Students in Vienna and Alpbach simulate a stakeholders dialogue and immerse themselves in the world of energy.

On the invitation of VERBUND, Austria's leading electricity company with a focus on hydropower, 35 students (TU Vienna and Graz, BOKU, WU, University of Vienna and Salzburg) gathered in the top floor of Vienna's Urania to simulate intensive negotiations aimed at finding the ideal Austrian energy mix 2030. The simulation involved the assumption of various roles, e.g. that of the electricity industry, the electricity customers, municipalities located near the power plants, legislators and environmental NGOs. The course and the result of this new form of stakeholder dialog simulation largely conformed to reality and was deemed by the participants to be very informative. The next round of negotiations will follow at a European level at the end of August at this year's economic conference within the framework of the European Forum Alpbach: students from various European countries and other forum participants will conduct negotiations on the optimal European energy mix 2030 in a live simulation in the Tyrolean mountain village of Alpbach.

Expansion of wind, hydro and solar power, supplementary gas power plants, investment in efficient "smart" electricity networks, affordable prices for electricity, global warming, regional planning – these issues alone reflect the complexity and, in part, multi-directional nature of the latest discussions on the energy turning point. 35 students (TU Vienna and Graz, BOKU, WU, University of Vienna and Salzburg) impressively demonstrated this at the stakeholder dialog simulation in Vienna. For half a day, they slipped into the role of the electricity industry, consumer representatives, local community representatives, legislators and environmental NGOs and attempted to reconcile – in some cases – highly conflicting interests.

Accompanied by representatives of real stakeholders from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Economy, the Climate Alliance, the Federation of Austrian Industries, the Provincial Government of Lower Austria and VERBUND, the students experienced hard bilateral negotiations, medial crossfire, summit talks and more. During the presentation of the VERBUBD Sustainability Report, the result and reality aspects were discussed with high-ranking stakeholder representatives such as Peter Molnar, Managing Director of the Climate Alliance, Peter Koren, Vice-Secretary-General of the Federation of Austrian Industries, Christian Schönbauer, Head of Energy Department in the Federal Ministry for Economy and Karl Wilfing, State Minister for Education, Youth and Planning in Lower Austria. Anzengruber summarises: "It was an interesting format which largely conformed to reality, sharpened the awareness for complex energy themes and also brought to light some new thematic approaches."

Students enrich Alpbach theme 2012: The future of youth

 The next round of this stakeholder dialog simulation will follow on 29 August 2012 at the economic conference within the framework of the European Forum Alpbach. Students from various European countries and other forum participants will assume the role of various European stakeholders and negotiate on the optimal European energy mix 2030. The negotiations, which will be conducted in English, will also be accompanied by representatives of real stakeholders such as the European Commission, Eurelectric, Business Europe and the European Climate Alliance.

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