Energy poverty (EP) – commonly understood as a household’s inability to secure socially- and materially-necessitated levels of energy services in the home – is prevalent across Europe. More than 50 million households in the European Union are struggling to attain adequate warmth, pay their utility bills on time, and live in homes free of damp and mould. These conditions adversely affect people’s health and well-being. Recognition of EP is growing across Europe, and the issue has been identified as a policy priority by a number of EU institutions, including the Energy Union Framework. Yet there has been a chronic lack of integrated discussion and interpretation of the problem within relevant scientific and policy communities. This has prevented the development of systematic understandings and effective policy responses.
The core aim of this Action is to radically transform the extent and depth of scientific knowledge about EP in Europe. It will generate a step change in how EP is theorised, detected and addressed. This will be achieved by establishing multidisciplinary collaborations at the nexus of several domains in which EP has been treated separately to date – human geography, energy studies, economics, sociology and political science. The Action will also produce innovative methods for knowledge exchange among academics, public policy officials, civil society and representatives of vulnerable households, while fostering a new generation of scholars. It will offer a unified platform to harness the analytical insights and resources produced by the large but highly fragmented landscape of funded research projects on EP in Europe.
More information about the project can be found on its website.
THE COURSE OF THE PROJECT
The conference on the theme of “Understanding and addressing energy poverty in Europe” was held in Athens at the beginning of 2018. Its aim was to examine the state of the art on the issue, as well as new research and policy agendas. It included a public workshop on energy poverty in Greece and Europe. It started from the premise that Greece is one of the European Union countries where energy poverty has expanded at record rates during the past decade. As such, the workshop brought together energy poverty experts (policy makers, stakeholders and researchers) from Greece and from the EU to analyse recent developments regarding energy poverty in Greece and Europe more widely, and to discuss options for tackling energy poverty in the future.
The meeting was attended by prof. Iwona Sagan, who is one of the two national representatives of the COST Action Committee. The other members of our Staff involved in the project are: dr Jakub Szlachetko (MC Substitute), as well as dr Joanna Stępień, dr Grzegorz Masik and Rafał Gajewski – involved in the work of working teams dealing with, among others, generating a hub for European dialogues between ENGAGER and relevant EU policy institutions, NGOs, academia, businesses and the social innovation community.
One of the main objectives of the project is to support cooperation between scientists from different parts of Europe dealing with the issue of energy poverty. For this purpose, the possibility of applying for grants for scientific exchange and participation in events on this topic has been opened recently.