Enel PlayEnergy, the international contest for building the cities of the future

Enel PlayEnergy, the international contest for building the cities of the future

The contest designed to bring youngsters aged 14 to 20 closer to both the world of energy and a conscious and responsible use of resources has just concluded. More than 7,300 entrants and three winning projects: two from Brazil and one from Italy.


“The most interesting thing about this experience is that in these projects circular cities already exist: everybody has learnt something by discussing such an extremely relevant issue.” This was how Roberto Deambrogio, Director of Communications at Enel, described the essence of the online event Enel PlayEnergy, an international contest to bring youngsters aged 14 to 20 closer to the world of energy and its conscious and responsible use. The project also showed how much young people want to ­and can – change their world thanks to sustainable energy.

The closing event of the competition, which was created by Enel in partnership with Campus Party, took place online on January 27th and 28th. Talks, panel discussions and interviews were livestreamed and are now available on demand. The events featured international guests and experts from the sector who discussed the topic of Circular Cities from different perspectives, focusing on the circular economy, sustainability, clean and accessible energy, but also aspects such as e-Mobility, the Smart City, Open Innovability®, research, startups, tourism and new tools and technologies for a sustainable future.

This latest edition, the second in the series, was aimed at Generation Z and saw the involvement of 7,300 young people from seven different countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Italy and Peru. The young entrants created projects and solutions, building on the cornerstones of the circular city. The finals of PlayEnergy 2021 was hosted at the international digital event created by Campus Party, which this year was dedicated to the theme of the “Circular City.”

“Working with all stakeholders to develop models for cities that are increasingly circular is essential for speeding up the energy transition all over the world. Events like this help us understand young people’s proximity to our vision and how important it is to involve them and build a dialogue with them. Young people are our number one ally when it comes to achieving change towards a more sustainable society,” said Enel Chair Michele Crisostomo as he opened the online event.

The teams taking part faced off in a contest that had been optimized specifically for remote working. The goal was to design a creative project relating to the issue of sustainability and then pitch it to an international Enel commission as if presenting a startup. Over the two days of the event the four teams that made the finals faced off in an Online Challenge, a new method based on Campus Party’s experience with Hackathons and optimized to enable those involved to work together, even when physically apart.

 “Circular cities,” Roberto Deambrogio went on to say, “are the blueprint for the energy transition and for Enel it is important to involve young people, both for their own growth and to help us understand their role in creating a better future. The energy I saw at the event showed that Generation Z can ably communicate its enthusiasm and passion to us at Enel while helping us to create a better and brighter future.”

The three winning projects offer a preview of the cities of the future. The first project was the Brazilian “Cidade Circular Futuro Verde.” The young team of three (Gabriela, Lorena and Melissa) designed a sustainable process, based on recycling and reuse strategies, for eliminating waste, which is a huge problem for big cities all over the world.

They were joined on the winner’s podium by three young Italians – Andrea, Paolo and Gabriele – with the project “AP 48,” which integrates photovoltaic panels with public electric mobility. The trio showed that by positioning photovoltaic panels on the roofs of public transport vehicles it is possible to reduce ticket costs by up to 50%. They commented, “We are very happy, it was a long journey that lasted many months,”.

Brazil also provided the creators of “Pé de Ortiga” – Erika, Luan, and Thiago – who won over the Enel international commission with an innovative method for recycling materials and, consequently, promoting the circular economy.

The three winning groups were awarded their prizes during the final ceremony, which was broadcast from the Main Stage, each receiving 1,000 euros in Amazon vouchers.

The two previous editions, which were held in an entirely digital format, attracted more than 15,000 entrants and featured 5,000 activities. The first edition involved three countries (Brazil, Greece and Italy), a number that then rose to seven with the second edition (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Italy and Peru). This momentum is set to continue with the next edition, which will be dedicated to electrification.