Imagining the future of energy in Lausanne

Thomas Richter B09tl5bsqjk Unsplash

What will tomorrow's energy production, consumption and distribution look like without nuclear and fossil energy?

This was the climate mitigation challenge posed to Climathon participants in Lausanne, Switzerland. In order to meet current global challenges such as climate impacts and finite resources, and with the advent of big technological developments such as energy storage systems, electric cars, photovoltaic panels, smart grids and the Internet of Things, the world of energy is in a process of deep transformation.

It is difficult today to predict and imagine how energy source and supply will look  in 10, 20, 30 or 50 years.

There are many different possibilities, but the path forward will likely depend on technological and legislative developments, as well as societal choices. 

There are three simple guidelines to setting challenges. 

All challenges should relate to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, respond to a real-life need in line with city-level priorities, and provide a clear opportunity for citizens to engage and act. 

With that in mind the organisers in Lausanne challenged the ideathon teams to focus on a few key things in the area of energy:

  • From a customer’s point of view, how will energy be produced, consumed and distributed in 2030?
  • How would you like it to be produced, consumed, distributed?
“What do you expect from energy infrastructures?”

They asked that participants made the challenge personal, tackling questions like:

  • Who will supply you with energy?
  • What energy will be distributed to you and how?
  • What services will accompany it?
  • What do you expect from energy infrastructures?

The organisers also asked that citizens taking part considered different scenarios. 

Were they a tenant or homeowner? Did they live in a rural, mountainous area of Switzerland, or in the city?

How did the ideas change or develop from the perspective of a city dweller, industrialist or farmer?

With descriptions of the different actors and their roles in this new world, as well as a thorough examination of the problems, challenges and, most importantly, benefits associated with this vision, the challenge in Lausanne asked participants to reimagine the future while staying grounded in reality. 

Thanks to our global partners