Blog: Empowering Youth for the Sustainable Energy Transition

11 December 2023
Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda Youth Team

Blog by Micheala Chan and Angelos Pastras, the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Youth Action Group.

Education is the cornerstone of the energy transition. In an era dominated by social media, young people are uniquely positioned to leverage their influence to build public consciousness around energy challenges, shape public awareness and garner support for climate and energy policies. Movements such as School Strike for Climate provide a prime example, exemplifying the power of young people to effectively advocate for climate action.

Youth have a critical role to play

The energy transition stands at a pivotal crossroad. As world leaders gather for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai to discuss tripling renewable power capacity by 2030 and shifting away from oil and gas, the vision of a sustainable energy transition is clear. Realising these goals requires the involvement of all stakeholders, particularly the youth who are and will continue to be the driving force behind this transition.

The youth have a critical role to play across many aspects of the energy transition, including employment, entrepreneurship, digitalisation, education, and advocacy. With a staggering 1.8 billion individuals aged 15 to 29 worldwide, youth are the key to a sustainable energy future. [1] In countries with rapidly growing youth populations, the energy transition is not only an environmental imperative but also a crucial opportunity to provide meaningful employment. In Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs) in particular, youth entrepreneurship becomes a linchpin for achieving universal energy access through the establishment of micro and small businesses.

The digital realm offers a fertile ground for young minds

Digitalisation is also a frontier where the younger generations, often termed “digital natives”, can play a pivotal role. Combining youth-driven innovation with the use and creation of digital tools and spaces can unlock new possibilities to accelerate the energy transition. Young people are adept at navigating digital landscapes and can harness the power of emerging technologies to address challenges creatively. For example, young innovators have already been making significant contributions to the development of smart grids and data analytics for optimising energy consumption. Youth are also eager to engage with decentralised energy systems, by advocating for and promoting transparency and efficiency in the process. Further, by actively engaging in digital platforms, young advocates can amplify their voices, fostering global collaboration and knowledge exchange. From online platforms for sustainable energy solutions to virtual hackathons addressing energy challenges, the digital realm offers a fertile ground for young minds to connect, ideate and implement transformative solutions, driving the energy transition into the future.

A just energy transition calls for new ways of thinking

In the gap between policy and implementation, research and innovation emerge as crucial threads that weave together the fabric of a sustainable energy future. A just energy transition calls for new ways of thinking and dynamic approaches to bridge the energy access gap. Young people can bring fresh perspectives in shaping and refining policies, crafting business models, exploring alternative technologies for a more efficient energy system, and measuring our impact using data. By fostering an environment that nurtures research and innovation, we can empower youth to become active contributors to drive positive change on a global scale.

Enshrining youth participation in decision-making processes is pivotal, fostering a sense of ownership and ensuring that transition strategies align with the needs and expectations of youth. This engagement and participation acts as a two-way street, providing a platform for the youth to input their aspirations and concerns while infusing decision-making processes with the innovative ideas and forward-looking perspectives that define the generation. In doing so, the energy transition becomes a collective endeavour, where the visions and expectations of the youth are integral elements, shaping a more inclusive and responsive pathway towards a sustainable energy future.

Energy literacy is a powerful tool

However, a significant challenge to youth empowerment in the energy transition exists in the form of a lack of trained youth with the capacity to tackle the sustainable energy transition. Energy literacy is a powerful tool to stimulate young minds, and instil the values that contribute to a sustainable future. Collaboration with vocational institutions is also important to bridging this gap, offering targeted training programmes which align with the evolving needs of the energy sector.

Towards a sustainable energy future

Our 1.8 billion-strong cohort of young minds can lead the energy transition, bringing fresh perspectives, effectively advocating for change and actively driving progress. To realise this vision, youth empowerment must extend beyond words and rhetoric, shifting away from tokenistic approaches and towards the co-creation of a sustainable energy future. [2]

The Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Youth Action Group

The Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Youth Action Group (CSET Youth) is an impact-driven network of young people from across the Commonwealth, committed to empowering youth of the Commonwealth to support, contribute to, and advocate for a sustainable energy transition.


[1]  UN World Population Prospects 2022:

[2] SDG7 Youth Constituency, 2021. White Paper on Meaningful Youth Engagement in the Intergovernmental Energy Space.