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European Sustainable Energy Week

Young Romanian engineer wins European Sustainable Energy Award for bringing energy efficiency to SMEs

Timea Farkas, 26 year-old PhD candidate in electrical engineering, recognised by European Commission for developing replicable programmes to improve energy efficiency among small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up 99% of Romanian businesses

Today, in Brussels, Timea Farkas was awarded the European Sustainable Energy Award 2022 in the Young Energy Trailblazer category. The award recognises professionals under the age of 35 carrying out outstanding activities that advance the clean energy transition in Europe and inspire ambitious climate and energy action. European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, met with the four award winners to congratulate them at the awards ceremony on the first day of the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), the biggest annual event dedicated to renewables and energy efficiency in Europe. ​

Timea is helping SMEs to establish energy efficiency action plans. Through her engagement in two EU-funded projects, SMEmPower Efficiency and Gear@SME, she brings together a community of companies to exchange best practices in this field. Already in 16 Romanian SMEs, establishing such plans has led to combined total energy savings of 8 897 MWh/year, the equivalent of 1,7 wind turbines running for a year, showing a high energy saving potential in this sector.

 

My aim is to meet the needs of individual SMEs by clustering them together, so that they can motivate each other in achieving short, medium and long-term climate ambitions. I am encouraging companies to enhance their energy efficiency by conducting energy analyses in their facilities and training decision makers and employees. Using this approach, SMEs gain knowledge on the multiple benefits of implementing energy efficiency measures.

Timea Farkas

Timea credits her passion for sustainability to her Erasmus year at Østfold University College in Norway, during her Bachelor studies as an electrical engineer. Through this experience she changed her trajectory to focus on renewable energy sources, starting her Master’s degree the following year in renewable energy technologies at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, where she is currently completing a PhD. In addition to her academic pursuits, Timea is the local lead for both projects through the energy service company Servelect and she also serves as a junior researcher at the Energy Transition Research Center

Timea is such an inspiring person for me and my colleagues because of her active involvement with each of the companies we are working with. Behind each company there are people. People, who change their minds, who start to act not only in the company but also at home. She also co-created the framework to establish energy efficiency action plans which can now be replicated with other SMEs.

Andrei Ceclan, Timea's colleague

Within the projects Timea provides technical assistance to the SMEs in their everyday energy efficiency efforts for both cost reduction and CO2 emissions reductions. But a lack of national best practices and experience threatens progress: Timea is responding to this by establishing energy collectives, through which networking paves the way towards energy efficiency and sustainability. ‘I believe that knowledge and awareness are the main fuels of the energy transition,’ adds Timea. 

According to its National Energy and Climate Plan for 2021-2030, Romania is strongly committed to reducing the carbon intensity of industry by supporting green production processes and resource efficiency within SMEs. Not only in Romania, but across the entire EU, SMEs represent 99% of all businesses, making energy efficiency improvements within the sector crucial to meeting European energy and climate goals. Timea’s work within the SMEmPower Efficiency and Gear@SME projects, which are funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, is delivering on the European Green Deal, and more urgently, supporting the REPowerEU Plan to accelerate the clean energy transition and increase Europe’s energy independence. 

Timea Farkas was one of three finalists shortlisted for the European Sustainable Energy Awards 2022 in the Young Energy Trailblazer category. The other finalists were Carla Silva Gonçalves and Marie Jeanmougin

The European Sustainable Energy Awards recognise outstanding individuals and projects for their innovation and efforts in energy efficiency and renewables. Prizes are awarded following a public vote in four categories: Innovation, Local Energy Action, Woman in Energy, and Young Energy Trailblazer. Finalists are chosen by a high-level jury from a shortlist of the year’s most successful projects and actions for clean, secure and efficient energy.

 

➔ Meet the other 2022 European Sustainable Energy Awards winners