Energy poverty (EP) – commonly understood as a household’s inability to secure socially- and materially-necessitated levels of energy services in the home – is prevalent across Europe. More than 50 million households in the European Union are struggling to attain adequate warmth, pay their utility bills on time, and live in homes free of damp and mould. These conditions adversely affect people’s health and well-being. Recognition of EP is growing across Europe, and the issue has been identified as a policy priority by a number of EU institutions, including the Energy Union Framework. Yet there has been a chronic lack of integrated discussion and interpretation of the problem within relevant scientific and policy communities. This has prevented the development of systematic understandings and effective policy responses.
The core aim of this Action is to radically transform the extent and depth of scientific knowledge about EP in Europe. It will generate a step change in how EP is theorised, detected and addressed. This will be achieved by establishing multidisciplinary collaborations at the nexus of several domains in which EP has been treated separately to date – human geography, energy studies, economics, sociology and political science. The Action will also produce innovative methods for knowledge exchange among academics, public policy officials, civil society and representatives of vulnerable households, while fostering a new generation of scholars. It will offer a unified platform to harness the analytical insights and resources produced by the large but highly fragmented landscape of funded research projects on EP in Europe.