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Europe faced with extreme heatwaves this summer. The raise of temperatures is coming faster and more intense than researchers expected, raising questions about what to anticipate in the future and particularly to prevent energy poverty. Indeed, energy poverty does not only mean suffering from the cold, but also enduring the heat.

EmpowerMed’s coordinator, Dr. Lidija Živčič, prepared a policy brief on summertime energy poverty for Engager – Energy Poverty Action. After a review of the problem and its consequences, the paper defines policy guidelines and research areas to be implemented as soon as possible. From urban interventions to reduce heat islands in cities to low tech solutions relying more on human than on technology, take note on the urgent measures to be developped !

Upload the policy brief: here.

As co-author of the article Energy poverty and emerging debates: Beyond the traditional triangle of energy poverty drivers, EmpowerMed is pleased to let you know that the final version – containing full bibliographic details – is now available online.

This paper evaluates whether, how, and why policy documents in six diverse European countries (Spain, France, Portugal, the United Kingdom, North Macedonia, and Slovenia) link energy poverty to other related policy areas. Our exploratory study suggests that the most explicit links to energy poverty are made in energy efficiency policies rather than in energy price and income policies, due to the dominant techno-economic approach to addressing energy poverty.

As countries with a long tradition of addressing energy poverty, France and the United Kingdom integrate energy poverty to a greater extent in linked policies. Policy integration is reflected in EU efforts to include energy poverty in climate and energy policies.

Emerging debates linked to energy poverty include good governance, citizens’ agency, new energy services, and new threats from the energy transition. We argue that the spatial divide of energy poverty across Europe is more than a physical (infrastructural) divide. It is a policy (political) divide embedded in the economic and political space co-shaped by national path dependencies, such as the social welfare system, the energy market, the level of experience of dealing with energy poverty, and the influence of EU policies. These conditions determine the national policy integration efforts linked to energy poverty.

Anyone clicking on this link before October 07, 2022 will be taken directly to the final version of our article on ScienceDirect, which they are welcome to read or download. No sign up, registration or fees are required.

Keywords

Just energy transition, inter-european comparison, policy analysis, policy integration, explicit and implicit links, energy and climate policies

Co-authors:

Ana Stojilovska: Department of Government and Public Policy, Institute for Political Science, Centre for Social Sciences, Tóth Kálmán utca 4, 1097, Budapest, Hungary

Rachel Guyet: CIFE (Centre International de Formation Européenne, Nice, France)

Katherine Mahoney and João PedroGouveia: CENSE – Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research & CHANGE – Global Change and Sustainability Institute, NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University Lisbon, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516, Caparica, Portugal

Raúl Castaño-Rosa: Sustainable Housing Design Research Group (ASUTUT), Faculty of Built Environment, Tampere University, Finland

Lidija Živčič and Tomislav Tkalec: Focus Association for Sustainable Development, Slovenia

Ricardo Barbosa: AdEPorto – Porto Energy Agency, Rua Gonçalo Cristóvão, 347 Fr.B Est.2, 4000-270, Porto, Portugal

Empowermed thanks the University of trieste for the invitation to this on-line lecture about Energy Poverty in South-Eastern & Mediterranean Europe. This webinar will outline three dimensions: gender, health and summertime energy poverty.

Held by Lidija Živčič, the coordinator of EmpowerMed project.

Some details in the poster below

Please, join the webinar directly the D-day by clicking on the link urly.it/3gnsr

For many, the start of this year’s winter comes along with unease and concerns. An estimated 50 million households in Europe do not have adequate access to essential energy services and goods. With steadily rising energy costs and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many more vulnerable people already at risk may slip under the line of energy poverty, soon.

The Empowermed team published a report which sheds light on the issue of energy poverty in Europe and Germany and examines corresponding policies and legislative frameworks. By looking into the causes and effects of energy poverty, the intersection between energy poverty and gender is highlighted.

With the publication of this report, the EmpowerMed team calls for more inclusive, gender equal and democratic strategies at the European and German level, being the only way of effectively tackling energy poverty.

Download the report here

The cold days of January 2022 in Albania took the life of a 67 year old woman in Fieri City. She was in difficult economic conditions, a degraded house and with no possibilities to even heat the room, due to power cut by the utility company. The director of OSHEE in Fier, stated that the lady was without electricity because she had not paid the service. The tragic consequences from the cold weather, because of extreme energy poverty conditions in Albania are reflected especially at the elderly, of which 318 thousand persons are over the age of 65 years. (Referring to INSTAT report Population ageing – the situation of the elderly in Albania) and their average pension according to the Social Insurance Institute is 86 Euro per month (urban pension is 110 EUR per month and in rural area 76 EUR per month.

With this amount of pension, they must meet all vital needs for food, clothing, medicine, water, sanitation, and electricity.

According to the calculation made by an energy expert, for heating a room during the winter season with 9,000 BTU air conditioner it consumes 1kw per hour. Considering keeping it at least working for 10 hours, 30 days in month it is equal to 300 kw / month. The price of 1 KW is 9.5 lek (according to tariffs approved by decision no. 252, dated 21.12.2021) and for 300 kw of electricity consumed the amount is around 25 EUR per month. What about other living conditions of elderly, in the sense of material wellbeing, poverty and access to specific housing conditions (electricity used to heat water, for cooking, washing, and ironing, etc.)

Only heating it costs to them 13-29% of the total amount of their pension. According to the EU standard, if energy consumption for heating exceeds 10% of a household income, then it is considered in energy poverty condition.

Albania is one of the few countries that is supplied with electricity by one operator, while countries such as Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia have the choice between electricity operators and if customers are not satisfied with the service, or if a company offers more favorable conditions, can terminate the contract with the existing operator and connect it with another operator. Also, in cases when the household is not able to pay for electricity (proven records), the company cannot interrupt the power supply, but the unpaid bill is accumulated as debt until the payment will be made.

In Albania it is necessary that the government support diversification of the energy sector and help financially vulnerable groups to install PV panels, which would reduce the bill and meet a part of the electricity needs for the people in need, ensuring better health and comfort. Thermal insulation in all social buildings, will help a lot in saving electricity for heating and cooling of buildings. Immediate need is the liberalization of the energy market for family members, who can select the company with which they want to sign a service contract.

Infrastructure investments cannot stay alone, if not adequate attention is given to increase the institutional capability for gender-sensitive and socially just energy policy framework. And finally, a detailed and in-depth study should be done in all urban and rural areas of the country aiming to assess gender mainstreaming and energy poverty gender patterns.

These facts, figures and arguments are an alarm addressed to the responsible institutions and the Prime Minister of Albania:

Pensioners need the help of the state, to afford the electricity bill during the winter and summer season.

They deserve attention and care, should be treated with dignity, as they have never been appreciated for their valuable contribution!

The pensioners do not deserve the miserable fate of the women from Fier.

EmpowerMed partners organise a webinar on Thursday 17 February at 14:00 CET for local actors on how to work with communities affected by energy poverty, especially women, for deploying simple photovoltaic (PV) concepts to tackle problems with access to energy.

The content will mix information, feedbacks from grassroots experiences and discussions:

  • Potential and challenges of tackling energy poverty through photovoltaic solutions
  • Photovoltaic concepts for households and communities affected by energy poverty – POWERTY project
  • Mobilisation of community, especially women, for development and implementation of PV projects: experiences from the ground
  • Discussion: limitations and obstacles for PV deployment, possible advocacy demands and steps, gender perspective

Register here

For more detailed, download the complete program.

This 10 November 2021 is the first day against Energy Poverty in France with a collective dynamics of all the involved organisations.

EmpowerMed is on board for this day:

The new figures from the national energy poverty observatory were published today: 20% of French people say they have suffered from the cold during the winter of 2020, for at least 24 hours.

Beyond the many events organized throughout the territory, the success of this day is measured by the numerous requests from the media and the participation of politicy makers in national events and in particular Emmanuelle Wargon, the French Housing Minister.

We interviewed Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya especially for you, see here the strong vision of this woman who strives every day to empower people affected by energy poverty

Mὸnica, if you had to sum up your vision of the fight against energy poverty in one sentence, what would you say?

“There will not be a just energy transition if people, affected by energy poverty, are not at the centre of the discussion”

You often talk about the role of women in this fight against energy poverty, why?

“Women and women-led households are disproportionately affected by energy poverty, yet women are strong actors in tackling energy poverty,” says Mὸnica. “We organise collective advisory assemblies to offer not only the tools needed to address energy poverty but also provide a network for these women to take action together with.”

How can all this work be replicated elsewhere in Europe?

“The network model and tools that we have created in EmpowerMed can be replicated in other countries and contexts, contributing to increased secure access to energy for all, but also energy savings and adequate consumption adapted to the climate and social circumstances we are living in” 

Collective action seems to be very important to you, doesn’t it ?

“Together, the members of the collectives are very strong and the impact on their self-esteem and independence is fortified through the network,” says Mὸnica. “We promote practical solutions that can be implemented but it is also important that we advocate for policy solutions at all levels and equip those affected to lead the change.” 

Thank you very much Mὸnica ! 

We now better know why it’s so important to vote for you

=> Discover the filmed interview and vote for Mὸnica: Woman in Energy Award – EUSEW

EmpowerMed team is proud to announce that our colleague, Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya from Enginyeria Sense Fronteres, ESF (Engineers without borders Catalonia), is one of three finalists shortlisted for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards 2021 in the Woman in Energy category!

The award recognises outstanding activities led by women that, if replicated, help to advance the clean energy transition in Europe and contribute to the European energy and climate targets. 

Monica and her organisation, Engineers without borders, are our partners in EmpowerMed. Their work is mainly focused on empowering women through collective advisory assemblies, which bring together people affected by energy poverty to transfer and exchange knowledge and skills for tackling energy poverty. 

Collective advisory assemblies help to create peer-to-peer networks, through which people support each other and work with each other to seek solutions for energy poverty. In Barcelona pilot site these collective assemblies are implemented in collaboration with the Alliance against Energy Poverty and around 500 affected people, mostly women, take part in them every year

By being nominated as a finalist in the upcoming EU Sustainable Energy Awards, Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya is recognised for the joint work in alleviating energy poverty in coastal Mediterranean areas. Please, help us showcase Mὸnica’s work widely by voting for her and mobilising your networks to vote for her too! 

Vote here

“There will not be a just energy transition if people, affected by energy poverty, are not at the centre of the discussion,” claims Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya

DG Ener and EmpowerMed project are happy to invite you to the EUSEW2021 policy session Gender justice in the energy poverty challenge in Europe!

The session will take place online on 27 October 2021 from 16.00 – 17.30 CET.

Women in all their diversity are disproportionately affected by energy poverty, yet are a strong actor against it. Currently, energy poverty policies are not paying sufficient attention, if any at all, to gender justice. 

The policy session aims to clarify how women in all their diversity are disproportionately affected by energy poverty; explain the gender dimension as an inequality factor, as well as other axes of inequality and vulnerability intersecting gender in manifestations of energy poverty; and propose recommendations on how to make policies against energy poverty gender-just. 

The policy session is designed to connect panellists from different sectors – academia, practice, decision-makers, gender experts / energy poverty experts – in a discussion on further solutions and policies for tackling energy poverty in a gender just manner.

Programme

  • Welcome and introduction – Martha Myers, Friends of the Earth Europe and Right to Energy Coalition
  • Theoretical state-of-the-art overview on gender justice and energy poverty – dr. Mariëlle Feenstra, University of Twente
  • Manifestations of how women are disproportionately affected by energy poverty in practice – Irene Gonzalez Pijuan, Engineers without borders
  • Factors that contribute to women being disproportionately affected by energy poverty and recommendations on how to tackle the challenge – dr. Anke Stock, Women Engage for Common Future
  • Pathways to making energy poverty policies in the EU gender just – Jutta Paulus, Member of the European Parliament

To take part in the policy session, we invite you to register here for EUSEW2021.