Energy literacy is a key factor for understanding, acceptance, and public support of the ongoing transformations in the energy sector. This study aimed to assess the cognitive dimension of energy literacy among teenage students from the Czech Republic. We have tested their knowledge of energy-related issues in a broader technical, environmental, and socio-economic context of energy production. Altogether, N = 244 eighth-grade students from seven elementary schools participated in the open-question assessment, followed by data analysis and quantification of the results. The main finding is that students perform unsatisfactorily on several key points necessary to understand energy generation, transformation, and collateral impacts. Energy externalities were identified as the most substantial topic in energy education that is underrepresented in the active knowledge of young students. A literature survey suggests that this problem might be quite widespread. Recommendations are provided for learning interventions that should equip future citizens for an evidence-based public debate on the transition to sustainable energy sources.

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