Sustainable Futures Energy Forum
Sustainable Futures Energy Forum

We have been running an exciting project for young people, aged 18 to 25, to shape thinking on energy issues. In partnership with regulator Ofgem, we launched an energy forum, in October 2023. This forum was created to hear the views of some of those impacted by energy policies but who are typically excluded in decision-making in the energy sector. 

Energy is essential

Energy is essential for many aspects of our lives. We need energy to heat our homes and water, to connect to the internet, to power our appliances, to fuel transport, to enable schools and hositals to operate. It is needed by individuals, businesses, and other organisations so we can function as a society, as well as for our health and wellbeing.

Young people face urgent issues relating to energy; on the one hand increasing living costs and in particular energy bills, and on the other hand the challenge of climate change. Young people are underrepresented when it comes to decision-making about energy in Great Britain. We think that needs to change. We want to make sure young people are involved in making decisions that affect their future. 

What is the forum?

The Sustainable Futures Energy Forum is an online forum for young people (aged 18 – 25) to share perspectives and experiences and to shape decision-making on current and future energy issues, with senior executives and employees at Ofgem (Great Britain’s independent energy regulator).

Everyone has their own experiences of energy – whether that’s using energy at home or whether you work in the energy sector; the forum is a space to share your perspectives, experiences, and ideas. Our forum members learned about energy in Great Britain and had access to information and materials on different energy topics.

Group of six people with their arms raised, silhouetted against the sunset

About us

Sustainability First is a small, independent charity and think tank based in the UK. We promote sustainability (i.e. social, economic, and environmental wellbeing) in the areas of energy, water, and communications. We work closely with companies, regulators like Ofgem and the government, and we make recommendations on how they can support sustainability. We also bring together people from across different sectors including artists, activists, and community groups, to think creatively about how to build a fairer and more sustainable future.

Ofgem is Great Britain’s independent energy regulator. It works to protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people, by ensuring they are treated fairly and benefit from a cleaner, greener environment. Government decides Ofgem’s duties (i.e. what they’re set up to do). Some things Ofgem looks at include: the price of energy, the emissions from the energy systems, and protecting customers who are more vulnerable. You can read more on the Ofgem website


Why does it matter?

This forum has been an opportunity for young people to shape Ofgem’s thinking on issues such as fairness, equity, inclusion, diversity, and regulation.

Good decision-making involves understanding and considering the views and perspectives of people with diverse experiences and backgrounds. If we don’t understand different experiences then it is hard to design an energy system that meets everyone's needs. A more inclusive energy system is not just right morally there is a strong business case for it.

Ofgem has been piloting this forum as a way to better involve voices and interests that are underrepresented in how they operate and make decisions.


Forum members had the opportunity to:

    • Learn about Great Britain's energy – how our energy system works and key themes
    • Hear from, ask questions to, and collaborate with energy professionals
    • Contribute your ideas, perspectives, and experiences
    • Shape Ofgem’s thinking on current and future energy issues and influence decision-making
    • Discuss and share ideas with other young people
    • Develop skills including communication, collaboration, and advocacy

The format

Members attended three online workshops plus an ‘Introduction to Energy in Great Britain’ session before the first workshop. Each meeting explored a different energy issue and there was lots of engaged debate and questions. We will be sharing summaries from these events with forum members and making recommendations to Ofgem about how to adopt what they have heard into their strategies and policies.

Who is part of the forum?

The forum united a group of ten individuals from diverse walks of life and experiences. We were particularly keen on applications from people and organisations under-represented in decision-making. We were grateful to forum members for sharing their views and lived experiences in an honest and open way. 


Recognising the value of people's time, we paid £80 per forum meeting, plus £40 for the initial learning session, to forum members who are students, volunteers, unemployed, freelance, or anyone not able to have their costs/time covered by their employers. Details will be treated with confidentiality under GDPR (see privacy policy) and the details will be deleted after one year.

Application process – how did we choose forum members?

The application process had two stages:

  • The first stage involved completing an online application form.
  • The three questions: 
    • Why are you interested in the Sustainable Futures Energy Forum and what would you like it to achieve?
    • Tell us about a social, economic, or environmental issue you care about and why? What do you want to change?
    • Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself, including your skills and experiences?
  • The second stage involved a short, informal interview/conversation with Sustainability First and a member of the Ofgem team. This allowed individuals to expand on answers in the application form and ask questions. 

Applying to be a member of the forum, selection, and serving as a member of the forum do not constitute any form of application for employment or employment with either Sustainability First or Ofgem.

Introduction to Energy

The following pack sets out an Introduction to Energy in GB

Sustainable Futures Energy Forum Workshop summary

In July 2022 we ran a workshop brining together a group of young people (aged 18-25) with Ofgem to explore experiences, priorities, and concerns around energy, and discuss how young people could help Ofgem shape decision-making in the future. You can read a note of the event here and the main themes discussed: Sustainable Futures Energy Workshop summary

Join the Sustainable Futures Network

We are developing a network of artists, creative people, university students, teachers, academics and sustainability professionals in utilities, policy and regulation. Creating new collaborations, conversations and perspectives. Please get involved.

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