The Swedish picturesque medieval town Visby, on the island of Gotland, turns into a unique democratic melting pot for a week in July – Almedalen is its name. Political speeches relieve each other and over 4000 events attract the visitors’ attention. Everybody wants to be seen and heard and Twitter is overloaded by the hashtag #almedalen. You literally stumble over official celebrities.
FED was there! The host Västsvenska arenan, where the City of Gothenburg is a partner, invited us. Around fifty people gathered to listen to four of the FED partners and three politicians. Göteborg Energi, the utility company, pointed at FED’s unique learning opportunity together with its customers. Akademiska Hus, the property owner, concluded that innovation is driven forward by ideas like FED getting tested and Chalmers University of Technology emphasized that the campus area should be a test arena worth visiting and getting inspired by. Johanneberg Science Park moderated the seminar and stressed that legislative changes will be needed to replicate FED in Sweden and the rest of Europe. The politicians called FED a prototype of how the energy system will work locally in the future!
Energy was of course a given issue at Almedalen, where lots of environmentally oriented events are arranged. At one seminar, a consultancy company presented the most important future challenges for utility companies. We can see that our FED project fits perfectly into their analysis: to realize innovative services, value new small-scale initiatives and meet customer demands on digitalization.
Sensing the spirit of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who gave the first Almedalen speech in the late 1960s, you feel somewhat honored to be able to present your specific message at this very occasion. Although some people find that Almedalen is more and more becoming a publicity stunt, it remains the best event for reaching Swedish authorities and decision makers.
Author: Pia Schmidtbauer