Why innovation is key for the energy transition


The energy sector needs to do more to open its doors to innovators and entrepreneurs.

That’s the opinion of Marloes Wichink-Kruit, Human Capital Manager at EIT-InnoEnergy, Europe’s sustainable energy innovation accelerator, which works to bring together inventors, graduates, researchers and entrepreneurs with the energy markets.

“Innovation is key to the energy sector and it can come from anywhere,” she says.

“In the next generation, the ambition is there, the will is there, the knowledge is there – but what is holding everyone back from making the transition is the ability to step in easily to the sector.”

She says embracing innovation and experimenting with solutions “is a process that needs time: every year will get us one step closer. They will not be one solution, there will be several, and we may not know which of them have worked until years from now when we look back.

“At the moment we don’t know – so we need to pay attention to all the possibilities.”

And she adds: “It’s very important to inspire the existing generation with new ambition and ideas and to drive for a purpose.”

Wichink-Kruit was speaking ahead of this year’s virtual EIT InnoEnergy Career Impact Challenges session.

In this special session, the winning innovative and sustainable solutions developed by teams of students from EIT InnoEnergy’s Career Impact Programme (CIP) to real-life challenges in the energy industry today will be showcased.  

The CIP is a 12-month professional development programme, fully aligned with EIT InnoEnergy Master’s Programmes, and designed to equip students with a rock-solid understanding of industry requirements and the realities of working life.

The CIP culminates in the EIT InnoEnergy Career Impact Challenges, where students get a unique opportunity to put their learning into practice by solving real-life challenges posed by energy sector practitioners.

This year, the challenges are being posed by Enel, McKinsey Energy Insights and Smart Innovation Norway. The challenges are:

  1. Utilities like Enel are data-rich organisations. However, how can they successfully monetise their B2B data, creating a new business with genuine value?
  2. How will COVID-19 change the long-term energy landscape, taking into consideration that the pandemic has caused a staggering short-term drop in global energy demand?
  3. Develop sustainable business models for the pilot sites to achieve low-carbon communities in the E-LAND Project.

Don’t miss the culmination of the EIT InnoEnergy Career Impact Challenges which takes place as a virtual event as part of Enlit Europe’s Initiate digital programme on Thursday October 29 at 14:00-15:00 CET. To register click here.