IRENA launches 'NewGen' initiative to promote youth-led RE start-ups, projects
At the recently held Youth Energy Forum at World Utilities Congress 2023, Abu Dhabi last week, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched a new initiative - the IRENA NewGen Renewable Energy Accelerator (NewGen).
The program is aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs and innovators in driving the renewable energy transition. NewGen will provide capacity building, mentorship and other resources to youth-led projects and start-ups that are developing innovative solutions to advance the adoption of renewable energy at the global level, the agency said.
"The rapid transition to renewable energy is crucial for the future of our planet, and young entrepreneurs are playing a vital role in powering this change," said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. "By launching NewGen, we are empowering a new generation of renewable energy leaders with the resources they need to tackle the pressing challenges of our time."
NewGen will be open to youth-led projects and start-ups with a focus on innovative solutions in areas such as energy storage, grid integration, and energy efficiency, according to IRENA. Selected participants will receive training, mentorship, other resources to help them develop and scale their solutions.
Further, they will also have the opportunity to compete for the IRENA Youth Award, which will offer financial support for the top 5 solutions.
The initiative is being developed in collaboration with Social Alpha, a non-profit organisation based in India that supports social start-ups, and Enel Foundation, a global non-profit organisation focused on supporting the development of studies and research mainly in the energy field.
As knowledge partners, Social Alpha and Enel Foundation will provide technical expertise and mentorship to help young entrepreneurs and innovators succeed.
"Social Alpha is thrilled to be partnering with IRENA and Enel Foundation on this initiative," said Manoj Kumar, Founder and CEO of Social Alpha. "We believe that by supporting young entrepreneurs and innovators, we can drive the adoption of renewable energy and accelerate the transition to a sustainable future."
Carlo Papa, Managing Director of Enel Foundation, expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration and shared his thoughts on the potential of NewGen. "We are excited to contribute to this initiative, which has the potential to drive innovation and further accelerate the energy transition. Young talents will help win the race to a clean energy future," said Dr. Papa.
The accelerator is part of IRENA's broader effort to support the acceleration of a global energy transition powered by renewables. By supporting youth-led innovation and entrepreneurship, IRENA aims to create new opportunities for clean energy development and help the global community achieve climate objectives and sustainable development goals.