Right to Energy Forum is an annual event organized by Right to Energy Coalition which unites trade unions, anti-poverty groups, social housing providers, environmental campaigners, health organizations, NGOs and energy cooperatives working on eradication of energy poverty across Europe. This year, regular topics of the event, such as energy efficiency legislation, state level advocacy or local community campaigns, were accompanied by discussions of the European Green Deal and the Renovation Wave Strategy together with the world pandemic and its impact on energy poverty.
Right to Energy Forum 2020 took place between December 1 and December 3, 2020. Every day, there were four to five sessions covering different solutions and possibilities to maximize energy efficiency and to address energy poverty with various experts at EU, national and local level.
Right to Energy Coalition invited several Members of Parliament to talk about energy poverty and the Just Transition from the perspective of the European Union under “MEP panel discussion” led by Clotilde Clark-Foulquier from FEANSTA. Cornelia Ernst, Radan Kanev, Manuel Pizarro and Kim van Sparrentak agreed that the development of a universal definition of energy poverty is a crucial step to be done for the overall approach to energy poverty from the EU perspective. They touched upon socially just climate transition which must avoid creation of more social gaps in the society. In regard to renovation of existing building stock, first on the renovation list must be the worst performing buildings and the most vulnerable groups. In regard to Energy Poverty Recommendation document, the MEPs warned about a risk of unintended negative impact connected with an unguarded liberalization of the energy markets. The energy markets usually consist of a rather small number of energy providers, being it strong, big companies. These serve consumers who in fact lack adequate information and knowledge to make reasonable decisions for an offer that would guarantee them the best prices and service. In other words, especially the poor are not good market players and the primary goal of any policy attempting to alleviate energy poverty should be to protect the most vulnerable.
We would like to highlight a session “Energy poverty: Opportunities and complexities in Eastern Europe“, too. During this session, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria Mincho Benov talked about the energy poverty situation in Bulgaria, emphasizing the problem of very low income in the country and bad condition of buildings that highly contribute to overall energy poverty in the country where majority of citizens are owners of the dwellings they live in. Then, Georgi Georgiev, Head of the Department of Architecture at New Bulgarian University talked about the complexity of defining energy poverty and the existing definitions across Eastern Europe. He suggests to find a common language for the region to better address the issue of energy poverty.
Overall, this three day event brought together a high number of experts in the field of energy poverty and was inspirational for further work from local projects to European policy. Thanks to the fact that this event took place online, you can still watch all the recordings from the sessions.
Find more information about Right to Energy Coalition here.
Find all the recordings from the sessions here.