What is PANEL 2050?

The Central and Eastern Europe Sustainable Energy Network (CEESEN) was created as a result of the PANEL 2050 project. Partnership for New Energy Leadership (PANEL) 2050 was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to promote a low-carbon community in Europe by 2050.

PANEL seeks to reach this goal by supporting communities in 11 Central and Eastern European Countries to transform into low-carbon economies by equipping energy advocates with the tools needed to mobilize local stakeholders to face the challenges of sustainable development in CEE and post-soviet countries.

PANEL 2050 does so in four ways in particular:

  • Help CEE Communities Develop Roadmaps for Reaching Sustainability

Each of PANEL’s 10 partner regions will develop local Energy Roadmaps and Action Plans promoting and supporting the transition towards a low-carbon community.
The CEESEN roadmaps on energy future 2050 will be designed in comprehensive process encompassing the process of generating a baseline, setting a regional vision, drawing up the roadmap itself including several action plans.
The roadmapping model, which all partners are ask to follow is divided into different steps building on each other from the first initial data collection to a complete implementation plan. This 4 stages-model should help structure the process for the roadmapping teams. The following figure shows the CEESEN roadmapping model.



  • Help PANEL Partners to More Effectively Engage their Stakeholders

PANEL 2050 has developed a process for helping its partners engage their stakeholders in the long-term energy planning process. The PANEL 2050 Energy Advocacy Training Programme is a structured and integrated approach that combines theory with practice for this purpose. It was created by the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu to help PANEL partners analyze their local market to identify which stakeholders should be involved and then implement strategies for engaging them using various methods. This includes guidance on:

  • Identifying staff appropriate for serving as Stakeholder Engagement Persons (SEPs) who can provide training, technical assistance and support to stakeholders within their community.
  • Analyzing and prioritizing stakeholders within their region.
  • Developing strategies for engaging stakeholders via a range of different actions
  • How to train stakeholders in their region on sustainable energy planning and advocacy – achieved via Train-the-Trainers workshops held with partners
  • Identifying important stakeholders who can act or are already acting as Forerunners in their region – opinion leaders who can influence the actions and decisions of others
  • How to develop the skills and abilities of “Forerunners” to engage in effective sustainable energy advocacy at the local, regional, national and European levels


  • Engage Stakeholders in CEE Countries Through Training and Capacity Building

In October 2017, PANEL 2050 partners began to provide training and technical assistance in each of our 13 CEE regions to increase the capacity of stakeholders to effectively participate in and advocate for the Roadmaps and Energy Visions described above. To date, 14 trainings have been held with 379 stakeholders. Training is based on the curriculum designed by the University of Tartu’s Skytte Institute in consultation with fellow PANEL Partners the Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA), ConplusUltra, the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU) and WWF Bulgaria/Hungary as well as experts in the fields of politics, stakeholder engagement, marketing and advocacy. The curriculum has been developed by bringing together the practical working experiences of its creators with an extensive review of theoretical literature.

It is intended that the curriculum will address the needs of project partners, sustainable energy stakeholders and identified forerunners. It is also anticipated that changes will be made to the curriculum as the project develops, as we receive feedback from participants and evaluate what is more and less effective and relevant for our target audiences. In addressing these different target audiences, various parts of the curriculum will be of importance.

The themes and information presented in these trainings were compiled into the Guidebook on Advocating Sustainable Energy in Central and Eastern EuropeThe Guidebook can be downloaded here as a PDF. Although the Guidebook covers different topics that can also be used and followed separately. However, we do recommend using it as a whole if possible as the benefit from the support of different topics is considerable. A description of each of the chapters and a link to download it are below:


  • Building the Capacity of Forerunners to push for Sustainable Energy

A key element of the PANEL 2050 concept is that broad change across Central and Eastern Europe is only possible as the result of local change in communities throughout the region. Furthermore, like many social changes, for this transition to be successful, local leaders must act as champions to educate others about the importance of the issues and to motivate them to change their behavior in ways that would enable a low-carbon future. These champions we call ‘forerunners’ and they are people and organizations with a high interest in promoting sustainable energy, have a willingness to act and are capable of influencing others.

Forerunners in our targeted regions will benefit from many of the outputs described above – they will be able to make use of the data complied from the local/regional Energy Profiles, they will participate in regular trainings and will make use of the guidebook that has been developed. However, to further enhance this, PANEL 2050 will also host the Forerunner Bootcamp which is a a week-long, intensive, practical and hands-on skills training for key stakeholders who can play leadership roles in their communities. Participants will be given opportunities to develop and pitch concepts, strategize on how they will reach key stakeholders, role play scenarios on dealing with different stakeholders (government, energy producers, end users, etc.) and be given advice regarding the development of funding proposals. The Bootcamp is being organized by many of the same PANEL partners who developed the guidebook, including the University of Tartu, ConplusUltra, the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU) and WWF Hungary. The Bootcamp will be held in Spring of 2018 and will be documented and recorded, so that it can be replicated by others seeking to empower forerunners in their community.

  • Bring Together Sustainable Energy Stakeholders from throughout the CEE Region

Whereas much of the PANEL 2050 project is focused on the local level – our goal is to scale up our efforts to achieve lasting change throughout the Central and Eastern European Region. To achieve this goal, the project was also used to launch the Central and Eastern European Sustainable Energy Network (CEESEN) to bring together stakeholders, share ideas and information and create networking and collaboration opportunities. To date, 404 individuals have registered as members of the network via this website. See file “How to register on CEESEN Platform”

In October 2017, CEESEN held its first conference in Prague, with over 150 regional stakeholders participating. To learn more about the Conference, visit here. To learn more about CEESEN and explore these collaboration opportunities, click on the Projects and Trainings links at the top of the screen.

The interconnection of all of these activities is depicted in the graphic below.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No 696173.