Energy poverty spring tour

This spring there have been several events focussed on, or related to, energy poverty, which EVALUATE team member Dr Harriet Thomson has had the opportunity to participate in. On 6th March, Energy Action held their annual Fuel Poverty and Climate Action conference in Dublin. This day-long conference featured a range of speakers from academia, local government, energy companies, and energy regulators, with four keynote speakers: Denis Naughten TD, FR Sean McDonagh, Professor John Sweeny, and Dr Brenda Boardman. In a session focussed on European fuel poverty, Harriet outlined findings from the EVALUATE project and introduced our new European Energy Poverty Observatory project.

At the end of March, Harriet was invited to speak at a workshop organised by the European Policy Centre in Brussels, as part of their Energy Poverty Task Force. The workshop focussed on how to measure progress on lifting people out of energy poverty, with interventions from DG Energy (European Commission), a Member of the European Parliament, Trinomics, and the University of Stuttgart.

More recently, Harriet attended the 1st International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science (ERSS), held in sunny Sitges, Spain. This was an exciting event to attend, particularly as several EVALUATE team members have a connection to the journal linked to this conference; Dr Harriet Thomson is an Associate Editor, Professor Stefan Bouzarovski sits on the Editorial Board, and Dr Neil Simcock recently guest edited a Special Issue entitled ‘Energy demand for mobility and domestic life: new insights from energy justice’.

On the first day of the ERSS conference, Harriet gave a presentation entitled ‘Re-visioning the measurement of energy poverty in Europe: a critical analysis of indicators and data’, which summarises a new article that was recently published in Indoor and Built Environment with Professor Bouzarovski and Dr Carolyn Snell. This presentation formed part of ‘Session 1: New Frontiers in Fuel Poverty Research’ and was chaired by Dr Lucie Middlemiss. One of the best things about the ERSS conference was seeing the huge diversity in work currently being undertaken worldwide on fuel poverty. Two presentations focused on the issue in Japan, another examined energy affordability in the United States, and a further three presentations looked at the lived experience of energy vulnerability, a comparison of approaches in England, France, and Ireland, and energy justice within the context of domestic retrofits. These presentations were further complemented by a session held two days later, entitled ‘Session 14: The complexities of energy and poverty’. This session also contained a range of interesting projects, including a talk by Dr Karen Parkhill on energy vulnerabilities as a result of welfare and employment policy reform, and Dr Sergio Tirado Herrero’s presentation on energy poverty, disconnections and transformative citizen action in Barcelona.

It has certainly been a good time for energy poverty researchers, with growing recognition and interest in the topic. Keep following this blog for updates on upcoming events in the summer, especially our energy poverty sessions at the RGS-IBG conference, and the second early career researcher symposium, to be held in conjunction with National Energy Action.