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The Governance of Energy Poverty Alleviation: Comparative Analyses of Targeted Policies and Strategies across Europe

Posted on 29-08-2022

Energy price volatility is likely to remain high due to geopolitical uncertainty and the transformative transition towards low-carbon generation. However, the consequences of price peaks are unevenly distributed across society as households with low incomes, little savings, and inefficient dwellings are disproportionately affected. Energy poverty – the inability to secure sufficient domestic energy services that allow for participation in society – can have deteriorating effects on their livelihoods. Therefore, energy poverty alleviation has become an important policy and research area, not least in the context of the ‘Renovation Wave’, the European transition towards low-carbon housing. This dissertation explores opportunities for European policymakers and housing professionals to target vulnerable households at risk of energy poverty so that the Renovation Wave can be made into a ‘just transition’. It aims to contribute to an understanding of ‘recognitional justice’ in several ways. First, it explores the added value of the energy poverty gap in assessing the intensity and inequality of deprivation caused by energy poverty. Moreover, these dimensions are used to identify driving household, dwelling and spatial characteristics of energy poverty in the Netherlands. Subsequently, it suggests targeted interventions that housing associations could implement to support those in need. It compares the regulatory opportunities and obstacles these housing providers face and assesses the target efficiency of state-level support policies in France, the UK, and the Netherlands. Finally, it develops a multilevel governance framework indicating and discussing the roles and responsibilities of actors in European energy poverty alleviation. The project uses a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods to provide a comprehensive overview of how recognitional justice can be integrated into policies across governance levels. By doing this, it aims to enhance identification of energy poverty, efficiency of alleviation policies and public accountability of actors responsible.

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