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June Energy Week in Brussels

This week, being it on purpose or not, Brussels is hosting not one, but several energy-related events that our representatives from Habitat for Humanity International are attending, too. Experts, stakeholders and activists from all around Europe will meet in one city to discuss the challenges of global warming and ensuring energy security for better future for all. Having tradition since 2006,

EUROPEAN SUSTAINABLE ENERGY WEEK (EUSEW)

organized by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), has become the leading event offering many panels, discussions, sessions, workshops and presentations during the whole week between June 17th and 21st, 2019. EUSEW is not an ordinary conference but rather a combination of talks, panels, fair, competition awarding and many other activities promoting sustainable energy innovation. The platform consists of four major events including Policy Conference, Networking Village, Awards Competition and Energy Days which gives space and opportunity, in fact, for everyone to fit in and take part this week. The main pillars of the platform are energy efficiency, decarbonizing the economy, research, innovation and competitiveness, so wondering about housing challenges, this topic surely will be part of the program.

• The Policy Conference
Organized by the European Commission, the main aim of this conference is to provide space for experience-sharing and promotion of energy efficiency practices and renewable energies. Thanks to this event and learning about successful policies, Europe can make a step forward the EU's energy and climate goals. The Policy Conference will take place between 18th and 20th of June, 2019.

• Networking Village
Another part of EUSEW is unique Networking Village which brings the EUSEW community together to forge alliances and provides with space for information-sharing. It is one of the complements to the high-level Policy Conference. The village will consist of Energy Fair, Energy Lab and Energy Talks. Like the Policy Conference, the Networking Village will be open for everyone between 18th and 20th of June, 2019.

• Sustainable Energy Awards
EUSEW Awards celebrate the outstanding ideas transformed into projects and award the year's most successful projects for clean, secure and efficient energy. There are 12 finalists who will be considered by the expert jury and even by you, if you are a European citizen (public vote). The winning projects will be eventually awarded in categories of Engagement, Innovation, Leadership and Youth. This year's competition and voting process is already closed, however, for future competitions, anyone within the EU can submit their recent project that helps work towards the Energy Union. This year's Awards Ceremony will be held on 18th of June, 2019.

• Energy Days
Energy days do not take place only in Brussels and only during the week of the conference but take place throughout months of May and June anywhere in Europe. This project serves as to roof the activities and events throughout whole Europe to promote clean energy transition. Anyone interested in clean energy transition and energy efficiency is encouraged to organize any kind of workshop, conference, competition or anything else related as to engage citizens for action in building Energy Union, let's say in the topic of housing issues as well. There are no limits on size or length of the event. It can be something local or more region-oriented, it can last from few hours to week or month. All the events are available on Energy Days Map.


Find more information about EUSEW 2019 here.

With the Europe 2020 Strategy, as well as ones that followed (2030 Energy Strategy and 2050 Energy Strategy), the European Union aims to address global energy challenges and achieve sustainable growth through an unprecedented collective action – the Energy Union. By adopting this plan the EU seeks to promote energy security, renewable energy production, and higher energy efficiency. This initiative is of central relevance to the residential energy sector in Europe.

Earlier EU initiatives to improve energy efficiency of existing housing stock and to establish energy efficiency standards for construction of new buildings (e.g. Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Energy Efficiency Directive) are now being revised within the framework of the Energy Union, with new overarching legislation to follow.

A report conducted by Central European University assesses how this new initiative of the European Commission will affect residential energy efficiency countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

What is the Energy Union?

On February 25th, 2015 the European Union took a historic step forward in its endeavor to enhance energy security in the region. The EU Directorate General for Energy launched The Energy Union, a strategic framework designed to benefit the EU in five key dimensions:

The document sets out fifteen action points and a roadmap how to achieve the Energy Union. Among other things, the roadmap will have a considerable impact on residential energy use. Thus, energy retail sector will see a phase-out of regulated prices and new measures to protect vulnerable consumers will be introduced. Investments in energy efficiency will be supported more strongly, while a strategy for Heating and Cooling approved by the European Parliament this year will see practical implementation. Reviews of legally binding directives that deal with energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings are to be conducted. In addition, the European Commission will create a comprehensive pool of data on energy issues in the EU in order to make accessible all relevant knowledge that the Commission and Member States have on the matter.

What does the Energy Union mean for countries in Central and Eastern Europe?

All EU Member States are directly affected by the Energy Union.  However, the Strategy will have a considerable impact on the rest of Europe as well. Its principles will be furthered through two partnerships the EU has with its neighbors, namely The Energy Community and the Eastern Partnership (see also previous energy efficiency related initiatives in the EaP countries such as Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) and Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund (EPTATF)).

The Energy Union will not only impact the EU, but also the Energy Community and the Eastern Partnership countries. There are numerous financial instruments at the European and national levels that can be used by firms and authorities to fund their energy projects.

This article is based on the report ‘Impact of the Energy Union on Residential Energy Efficiency in Central and Eastern Europe’ that was prepared for Habitat for Humanity by D. Paden Chang, Fabian Steuer, and Anastasia Zabusova from the Central European University in Budapest.

 

You can find the whole report here.

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