ASSIST Final Conference
From local to European: barriers and solutions to tackle energy poverty
ASSIST is currently in its final project stage and to share their experiences and knowledge, they organized a three day final online conference. The fruitful discussion and enriching presentations about energy poverty took place online between 9 and 11 June, 2020. During the final conference, ASSIST presented on their successful multidisciplinary strategy to tackle energy poverty in Europe and the implementation of a holistic approach. The conference was wrapped up by introducing of ASSIST’s final document – policy framework paper to tackle energy poverty.
Background of ASSIST Project
ASSIST project offers a two-way approach to the problem of energy poverty:
- Active engagement of consumers in the energy market
- Positive change of behavior in relation to energy consumption and to influence design of policy at all levels to tackle energy poverty issues
A crucial point of the project was the development of in-depth knowledge on consumer vulnerability and contribution to the development of a unique definition of energy poverty for its identification and measuring in future. Thanks to these activities and combined results with specific policy orientation tasks, national and European stakeholders are a step closer to measure household energy needs and target energy efficiency measures to low-income households living in energy inefficient buildings.
- Nearly 100 000 vulnerable consumers reached trough “soft” and big actions
- Energy saving of 2% of more than 12 000 vulnerable consumers
- More than 500 trained Home Energy Advisors in six countries
- Identification of national measures and best practices to address energy poverty in Europe
The final conference was held online due to coronavirus crisis. The conference was structured into three complementary sessions approaching different perspectives of energy poverty. Each day was devoted to another topic, but all were covering energy poverty from different perspectives.
How are local actions and social innovations necessary to put vulnerable consumers at the heart of policies addressing energy poverty?
This session was a round table discussion with members of the national Vulnerable Consumers Steering Committee from each ASSIST participant country – Belgium, Poland, Italy, UK, Finland and Spain. The speakers were brought to the table from different sectors so that different perspectives of the project implementation could be shown in the introductory presentations. The representatives presented their country’s experience of how the work of ASSIST has contributed to the implementation of local initiatives and vice versa.
The speakers were discussing what local, regional and national energy poverty initiatives shape the fight against energy poverty. They agree that it is a multidimensional issue affecting different sectors; including public policy, social and health affairs, environment, finance, energy market, home-owner associations.
To be successful in alleviating energy poverty, all the sectors must be included in the dialogue and cooperation.
Day Two – Session 2:
Challenges to tackle energy poverty: views from EU projects
This session presented the insights from some of European initiatives with their coordinators who were sharing their methodologies and results on what has been already achieved and what are the future goals. Energy efficiency was introduced under Horizon2020 program and LIFE program which is a new funding opportunity for the new budget period.
It is evident that energy efficiency measures are very much relevant and its implementation should be well promoted.
Day Three – Session 3:
EU policy to tackle energy poverty and protect vulnerable consumers in Europe: proposal and recommendations
During the final session of the ASSIST conference, new policy framework was presented. It illustrates political pathways, policy recommendations and proposals in different areas to promote vulnerable consumers’ protection in the energy market. This framework paper called “Vulnerable Consumers Protection Framework Paper“ was published as a final document deriving from experience gained during the implementation of ASSIST Project in different environments.
The round table discussion was held between different stakeholders working at European level in the institutional, political and social sector. Discussed were opinions and reaction to the introduced policy paper and what issues remain critical to alleviating of energy poverty at European level. The issue of energy poverty is by now politically well recognized among the Member States.
However, policy measures in mere financial support, as it is seen across Europe, do not solve the elementary problem – the drivers of energy poverty:
price, income, energy efficiency for energy poor/vulnerable houses.
Find more information about ASSIST Project here.
Find more information about ASSIST Final Conference here.
Find videos, digests and other materials from ASSIST Final Conference here.