The meaning of energy transition kept progressively changing for many years. In this regard, new concepts and definitions are arising.
At the moment, terms such as "prosumer’" and ‘"energy community" are particularly popular. These new words suggest that every citizen can now become a producer and manager of its own self-produced renewable energy.
This clearly represents a radical change to the current energy framework, based on citizens’ acceptance of their role as consumers on the one hand and the status quo of energy companies on the other.
It is true that the shift from a consumer to a prosumer’s attitude looks now idealistic and utopic. However, looking back in the past, humanity did change even bigger than that. One question goes directly to the nitty-gritty of the problem: how to support the transition towards a prosumer model?
The first barrier in this regard is that, nowadays, ordinary people usually have little knowledge about the energy sector. For example, citizens pay their bills without usually caring to verify the real consumptions.
This shows that a new approach towards energy is necessary to really promote such a societal change. With that in mind, schools might be seen as the incubators of the next generation of ‘’prosumers’’.
This is why, in February 2021, Pamplona City Council launched a new tool to educate primary school pupils about energy and to encourage them to build an Action Group against energy waste through a game-based project.
This initiative is part of the "Go Green Pamplona" program, and the STARDUST project, as the city seeks to complete the development of the Energy Transition and Climate Change Strategy by 2030.
In this pilot, children are asked to build the necessary knowledge to understand how energy works. To do that, an online game-designed platform has been created. There, children can follow online lessons, win challenges, and get rewards.
In order to develop the Action Group, teams will be set up to discover the school’s energy use habits by carrying out an energy diagnosis. At the end of the training lessons, young technicians will have the capacity to develop a proposal aimed at provoking a behavioral change within the educational community. This is expected to finally improve energy saving and efficiency in the school.
This learning game is structured in three levels: firstly, in the module “Energy” students will develop a basic understanding of what energy is and its sources.
Secondly, the module “Energy Management” provides insights on how to execute a simplified energy diagnosis, dealing with problems and possible solutions in the field of energy management.
Finally, the module “Action Plan” is the final practice-oriented package, enriched with several concrete energy-saving actions to put in place.
Every module includes brief video lessons, in which children are simultaneously teachers, students, and technicians. The content of these lessons, made with the purpose to spread knowledge in a funny and interesting way, looks adequate for its purpose.
This pilot project is now in an experimental phase and monitored by the Environmental education unit of Pamplona city council. Next year a public call for other schools interested in the project will be open.
Will we consult our children before paying our electricity bills?
Energy is beyond any doubt a complex topic. This pilot project aims at providing children with insights to finally build a new generation of citizens conscious of their role in the energy transition.
As today, elder people see the newest generation as expert technicians in using mobile phones, computers, and technological devices, the same might happen in the next 30 years in the world of energy: a rise of a new generation of well-educated prosumers empowered with a completely new outlook of energy usage.