The EVALUATE project is well underway, and as part of our outreach activities we have been continuing to engage with a variety of audiences across Europe. EVALUATE research was presented at the 2014 Fuel Poverty Research Symposium held in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and jointly organized by the Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster. The event brought together 11 postgraduate and early career researchers from a range of disciplines currently active in the fuel/energy poverty field, many of which came from the English-speaking UK and Ireland, even though the presence of German, Belgian and Spanish speakers allowed a wider EU-wide discussion. The symposium also featured presentations from practitioners and policy-makers from Northern Ireland, and was closed by a session chaired by Prof. Christine Liddell that summarized the main themes discussed and research gaps identified in the morning and afternoon sessions.
EVALUATE/CURE research associate Sergio Tirado Herrero participated in the symposium with a video introducing the project’s aim and context, as well as some key results and emerging ideas on the spatially-contingent and multi-scalar nature of domestic energy deprivation in Europe. As the video shows, Sergio’s presentation (co-authored with Stefan Bouzarovski and Saska Petrova) starts by referring to the novel theoretical elements brought forward by the emerging notion of energy vulnerability. It then provides an assessment of the spatial differences found in the incidence of energy poverty across EU Member States, and presents Hungary as a former socialist Eastern European Member State in which growing energy burdens (i.e., percentage of household income spent on domestic energy) and ‘energy degradation’ (i.e., switching towards less advanced and more polluting fuels, such as firewood and coal) provide clear evidence of the increasing difficulties experienced by households to afford a sufficient level of energy services at home. This empirical evidence and the theoretical contributions it brings forward have been put together in two papers recently submitted to peer-reviewed academic journals.