POWERTY (Renewable energies for vulnerable groups) is a European project, framed in the INTERREG EUROPE programme aiming to achieve innovative renewable solutions to tackle energy poverty.
On 13th and 14th June, 2022 POWERTY project partners and other stakeholders gathered together for an exchange of experience event that took place in Starosel, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
During the event Ms. Hannah Charles from the University of Manchester presented recent updates on energy poverty in Europe 2021-2022, also highlighting different specificities in the partner regions (Spain, France, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Poland). Attention was put on the current big factors impacting energy poverty, such as the Covid-19 situation and associated economic changes, which still continues, and the conflict in Ukraine that is affecting the price of oil and gas supplies across Europe.
Consequently, the Action Plans for the participating regions of all partners were presented, namely:
Mrs. Ruth Borrego from the Andalusian Energy Agency (AEA) presented the Action Plan for Andalusia region, which includes three main Actions:
- Action 1: Renewable energy financing formula for vulnerable groups, which aims for the installation of collective photovoltaic solar self-consumption in the homes of people in vulnerable situations, financed participatively through crowdlending.
- Action 2: Elderly people as energy advisors of elderly people, which focuses on the creation of a network of energy advisers, older people trained in energy matters to advise other older people.
- Action 3: Roadmap to promote energy communities including vulnerable groups, which prepares a roadmap that will contain all the necessary steps to develop energy communities, including vulnerable groups.
Mrs. Catherine Premat from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy Environment Agency (AURA-EE) presented the Action Plan covering the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, which includes one main Action, aiming to develop a RES area particularly covered by social housing, with third-party financing. The actions to support buildings with vulnerable households to be equipped with solar PV and collective thermal systems (solar, heat pumps, biomass), without any additional costs for them.
Mr. Petar Kisyov on behalf of the Energy Agency of Plovdiv (EAP) presented the Action Plan for the Plovdiv region, which also includes three main Actions:
- Action 1: Improved energy planning at local level targeting higher RES penetration aiming at the development of new sub-measure, targeting increased self-consumption within the Plan for the Integrated Development of Plovdiv Municipality 2021-2027.
- Action 2: Municipal programme for installing PVs for self-consumption and Battery Energy Storage systems (BESSs) in social buildings foreseeing the implementation of PV or PV+BESS systems within 40 social building.
- Action 3: A new municipal subsidy programme coupling heat pumps with RES within vulnerable households in Sofia Municipality aiming at setting up a pilot municipal programme for the implementation of heat pump and PV hybrids within 50 low-income households.
Mrs. Renata Adomavičienė on behalf of the Public Investment Development Agency (VIPA) presented the Action Plan for Lithuania which includes one main Action, which is the setting up of a governmental subsidy programme for the Use of renewable energy sources (solar) for electricity needs of poor natural persons and/or replacement of heat installations using fossil fuels. The amount allocated for the first call is 1,8 million Euro, where eligible measures are Solar power plants; Power plants from solar parks; Heat pumps (ground-water; water-water; air-water; air-to-air) and Class 5 biofuel boilers.
Finally, Mr. Jacek Baranowski from the Agglomeration Opole Trust (AOT) presented the Action Plan for Opole Voivodeship aimed at supporting the use of RES among vulnerable groups. The action plan aims to:
- Identify the vulnerable groups,
- To reduce the energy costs and the energy demand of the vulnerable groups by implementing planned investments and educational activities
- To set up a plan for the development of investment and non-investment activities in the Municipality of Gogolin.
- To set up joint efforts with association members to conduct various energy poverty analyses in the region;
- Increasing citizens’ interest to invest in RES.
In addition, the project partners shared the progress of the three Pilot Actions that were set during the POWERTY timeframe:
- In Spain, Mrs. Ruth Borrego (AEA) together with the Representatives of the Torreblanca Schools involved in the pilot, Mrs. Ana Dominguez (Velez de Guevarra School) and _Mr. Carlos Ramos (Principe de Asturias School), presented the pilot action aimed at testing the creation and development of a small energy and educational community in a vulnerable area in Andalusia (Spain), foreseen to be implemented in the “Torreblanca” neighbourhood located in Seville. This neighbourhood has been classified by the Andalusian Regional Government as a Disadvantaged Zone and is included as such in the Andalusian Regional Strategy of Cohesion and Social Inclusion. The aim is to enable vulnerable groups affected by energy poverty to have access to renewable energy, save on their electricity bills, and thus alleviate energy poverty, while at the same time promote energy culture by integrating an educational and learning dimension in energy matters. At the end, it was played the summary video about this pilot action.
- In France, Mrs. Noemie Zambeaux (AURA-EE) shared information on their practice for Equipping low-income households with renewable energy
through a citizen investment tool, where an ESCO-type contract between civic societies and vulnerable households in 2 pilot territories (rural and urban) is taking place. The objective is to give citizens a way to participate concretely in the fight against climate change and in the energy transition.
- In Bulgaria, Mr. Petar Kisyov shared information on the impact from the implementation of innovative hybrid of PV plus Battery Energy Storage System (PV+BESS) within 3 social building was tested as a possible solution pilot buildings (consumers) to achieve significant share of renewable self-consumption and self-sufficiency and to decrease on-site electricity bills, while further contributing to the decarbonisation of the energy system.
Finally, the lead partner (AEA) informed that POWERTY will take part of the EU Week Regions and Cities 2022 on October with a workshop about Tackle energy poverty with renewable energies through energy communities.
During the second day of the meeting all project partners took part in study visit to the good practices developed by the Energy Agency of Plovdiv (EA) as part of the Pilot Action activities. Partners were able to visit and get into more technical details of the two of the PV plus battery energy storage pilots that were implemented locally.