F4E brings the energy of the Sun closer to youth

Manuel Szapiro, Head of the Commission's Regional Office in Barcelona, addresses the audience before F4E staff members Txell Parera, Aris Apollonatos, Jesús Izquierdo, and Miguel González.

How does the EU Green Deal pave the way for a carbon neutral future? What is the impact of climate change on designing energy polices? Will fusion play a role in tomorrow’s energy mix? These were some of the questions raised during a seminar on “Pacte Verd i fusió: quines són les claus del nostre futur energètic?” (“Green Deal and fusion: what are the keys to our energy future?”), organised by Fusion for Energy with the support of the Representation of the European Commission in Barcelona. The discussion took place on 6 March 2023, aiming to combine some of the objectives of the 2022 European Year of Youth and those of the European Year of Skills, celebrated in 2023.

Roughly 40 people, most of them students and members of pro-European youth associations, attended the event. After the opening words of Manuel Szapiro, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Barcelona, our colleague Txell Parera moderated a lively session with interventions from F4E’s Jesús Izquierdo, Aris Apollonatos, Miguel González, and Pau Garcia Audi from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Energy.  

Pau Garcia Audi kicked off the discussion with a presentation on Green Deal policies. He explained in detail how the European Commission is implementing the most ambitious plan to date, taming the emissions of CO2 and making both public and private buildings, compatible with high energy efficiency standards.

And from energy efficiency we moved to energy deficiency, when Aris Apollonatos referred to some of the most serious power-cuts experienced in Spain during the last years, and linked them to an ageing infrastructure, maintenance, energy dependence and extreme weather phenomena.  The need to diversify the Europe’s current energy mix, consisting of petrol (34.5%), natural gas (23.7%), renewables (17.4%), nuclear energy (12.7%), and solid fossil fuels (11.5%) was also highlighted. And how the invasion of Ukraine has led 84% of Europeans to think the EU needs to reduce its dependency on Russia.

F4E and ITER were introduced as part of this geopolitical puzzle leading to a presentation by Jesús Izquierdo and Miguel González outlining the physics behind fusion and technical specifications of ITER. They invited the audience to go back in time and understand the importance of energy and how fusion is a leap to the future. References to other fusion devices such as JET, JT-60SA were made in order to familiarise the audience with other devices. The rest of the presentation highlighted the merits of fusion, the commercial and technological benefits. The conference was followed by an open discussion with the attendees, who showed a deep interest in the topics addressed.