(with Maria Pozsar)
Energy poverty is a widespread phenomenon in the European Union with over 50 million individuals (Thomson, Bouzarovski, 2018) unable to secure the materially and socially needed levels of energy in their households (Bouzarovski, Petrova, 2015). There are various driving factors at play, such as low incomes, high energy prices, energy market conditions, individual behaviour, efficiency levels of household appliances and building specifications, to name just a few. Over time, various transformations in European policies have aimed at addressing some of these shortcomings. With the Winter Package, European legislation has more coherently addressed energy poverty, as it incorporated the concept clearly, while making Member States responsible for observing and reporting progress periodically in their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).With the European Green Deal, the EU has embarked upon implementing an ambitious roadmap to a net-zero economy by 050, which requires a just transition process with respect to the purchasing power of the population.
With a lower than 1% per annum renovation output of an often highly below-standard European housing stock, ambitious programmes aimed at delivering a more sustainable building sector are now in view. The related January 2020 ‘Renovation Wave’ initiative waiting to be delivered this autumn aims to boost the pace of renovation toward improved energy efficiency and reduced GHG emissions. Energy poverty has never been a more relevant discussion.