Creativity, innovation, sustainability: these are the ingredients of PlayEnergy, the contest conceived by our Group to get Generation Z interested in topics having to do with energy transition and the conscious use of energy.
PlayEnergy was targeted toward young people between the ages of 14 and 20, encouraging them to share their original ideas and insights to become “Champions of the Future”.
The previous editions focused on the circular economy and cities of the future, while this year, PlayEnergy had the theme of electrification: thousands of students from 7 countries (Italy, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, and Greece) chose their avatar and conceptualized and designed new ways to produce and consume energy more sustainably and consciously, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda.
Science fiction and gamification were the key words for the 2023 edition: for an experience that was even more engaging, interactive, and stimulating, the contest borrowed from the style and language of video games, becoming a true digital adventure, with dynamic backgrounds and sci-fi atmospheres
In the world of PlayEnergy, contestants were asked to respond to a message from the future: “The Earth is in danger due to pollution. Young people need to take action today in order to change the destiny of the planet.” How? By participating and completing quests that got more difficult with each mission, and coming up with projects having to do with electrification. Some of the side quests required the active involvement of teachers as advisors, while the more difficult challenges, called Main Quests, saw the participants working in groups (their crews). For every challenge completed, participants earned the points needed to move up in the worldwide rankings and complete all of the levels, from Electrification Curious to Expert, Enabler all the way to Electrification Champion.
The challenge began in September 2022, and, in the end, there were 6 teams in the finals – 5 from Italy and one from Brazil. In May 2023, they presented their pitches online before an international jury, telling about their projects: bold, original concepts – from rail travel to space – dreaming up new models and tools to contribute to sustainable development and a society that is ever more innovative, equitable, and inclusive.
This year's edition saw the Hadar team triumph with the project Una Luce Sospesa (Suspended Light), awarded first place for its ability to combine technological innovation and social inclusion, in line with SDG 10 (reducing inequality). This concept is inspired by the "suspended coffee" idea, aiming to create a solidarity network of prosumer donors in order to combat the phenomenon of energy poverty.
The TMA3 team came in second place with the Smartainable Rails project, in line with SGD 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure). They were able to envision innovative, more efficient and sustainable rail transportation
Third place went to the Brazilian team Pè de Ortiga, whose Off Car project, geared toward achieving SDG 13 (fighting climate change), aimed to revolutionize private mobility in large cities from a “greener” perspective.
There were many other ideas – looking to the SDGs for inspiration – showcased by these young people, from the energy conversion of abandoned city buildings to potentially having photovoltaic panels in space in the future, all the way to projects to reduce food waste. These projects show how energy transition is, first and foremost, a cultural transformation centered around people.