Make them curious about things — We should always encourage kids to ask questions and be patient while explaining how things work. Curiosity leads to exploration and discovery. When you know something that others don’t, you want to share your knowledge. It is just one step away from becoming a leader.
As part of my series about what we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment, I had the pleasure of interviewing Radoslav Stompf.
Radoslav is an energy expert and CEO of FUERGY — a tech company that has developed its own modular battery system and software platform powered by artificial intelligence for enhanced energy management. The company wants to change the way people use and share electricity and thus accelerate the transition to energy decentralization with a high share of renewables.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I was a little nerd from an early age, I was attracted to computers and I was not just playing games. In the late ’80s, my parents bought the first 8-bit Atari ZX spectrum computer. I tried to create some simple programs and my own games on it. Those were my beginnings.
Was there an “aha moment” or a specific trigger that made you decide you wanted to become a scientist or environmental leader? Can you share that story with us?
I would say the” aha moment” came to me the day we founded FUERGY. Before that day, it was about discussing our vision for the future of energy and thinking of how we can apply the energy optimization processes which I was using for big companies even for smaller clients. Because I believe everyone deserves to have access to green and cheap energy. Over time we designed an interconnected ecosystem where every consumer, every renewable energy source or energy storage is an active participant. We founded FUERGY and I realized we started a project that can change the energy sector as we know it. Now I feel a big responsibility to make our vision a reality.
Is there a lesson you can take out of your own story that can exemplify what can inspire a young person to become an environmental leader?
Be active at a young age. If you are young and have some free time, use it wisely. I am not saying to stop having fun completely but you can try to dedicate a part of it to a good cause. Like volunteering. See how it feels to do something good for a community. I must say that working on a project with the potential to change and improve the way that we produce and use energy is really fulfilling. I can see the effects of my hard work and there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you are making the world a better place to live in even for the next generations.
Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?
We have developed an energy storage system with AI-powered software that collects the data from renewable energy sources, consumers, external energy systems and energy suppliers, analyzes it, and then independently decides whether the produced green energy should be consumed, stored, or whether it is better to use the surplus energy from the grid or consume the stored energy from the battery.
Our software ensures that energy production and consumption are well-timed, all resources are used to the fullest, and energy is not wasted. Users are active participants of the grid and get remunerated, which makes renewable energy production much more financially attractive. People are therefore motivated not only to become energy self-sufficient but also to save money.
This is a crucial moment for the mass adoption of renewables. Their payback period was simply too long and now they can even be your new revenue stream. Let’s face it. The best way to motivate those, who are not ecologically conscious to switch to renewables is by offering them the financial benefits.
Can you share 3 lifestyle tweaks that the general public can do to be more sustainable or help address the climate change challenge?
- Buy less stuff — As we say in our field: The cleanest form of energy is the one never produced. Put your money into high quality and sustainable products that will last longer.
- Share — whether it is car, bike or even clothes. Sometimes we buy expensive stuff we won’t really use to the fullest.
- Start producing your own energy (if you can) — If you are hesitating whether it is the right time to install PV, the answer is: “Yes, go for it”. Choose solar plus storage even if it is more expensive. It will really pay off.
Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview: The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.
- Be a good example — Your child will copy your way of life.
- Make them curious about things — We should always encourage kids to ask questions and be patient while explaining how things work. Curiosity leads to exploration and discovery. When you know something that others don’t, you want to share your knowledge. It is just one step away from becoming a leader.
- Travel the world (once it is possible) — By seeing places, meeting people, sharing stories you become more open and aware. It is always good to see reality with your own eyes.
- Recycle — Recycling is probably the best way to start being ecologically active. It is simple, for free and also very addictive. Once you start recycling, you just simply can not throw the rubbish into the wrong bin.
- Spend family time outdoor — The more time you spend in nature, the more you will respect it. Plant a seed and watch it grow. Let your kids experience the impact they have on nature.
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
Companies like Facebook, Google or Walmart are signing contracts for renewable energy. Why? Because they put a lot of effort to understand their customers. And people care more these days. Big companies usually show us what the customers really want and which direction will the sector go.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
After graduating from high school, I met an interesting person — Milan Macko who got me my first job. I started developing control systems on various PLCs (programmable logic controllers). It was a very interesting time, because he was teaching me a lot about software development and automation, and I was solving quite difficult technological problems.
You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love to see some form of “Stop using” challenge. For example, I would challenge my kids to stop using energy for 12 hours or my colleague to stop using his car for 48 hours. This might remind people how important are even the simplest things of our life.
Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Neale Donald Walsch
In my entire career, I was in the position of an energy expert who was providing his expertise. When I became CEO, my life changed. I had to learn how to present our products and services, how to negotiate and sell. I was totally out of my comfort zone but I never felt more alive.
What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?
This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you for giving me the space to inspire others.