[17.08.21] Energy Poverty: New scientific papers

Energy Taxation and Its Societal Effects 

Joint Research Centre of the European Commission released a new paper on energy taxation and energy vulnerability/poverty. Taxes account for a significant share of the final price of energy products in the EU. Energy taxes provide flexible and cost-effective means for reinforcing the polluter-pays principle and for reaching objectives of the European Green Deal. However, as energy taxation raises the price citizens have to pay for their energy, the poor are at risk to be more burdened by energy price increases than the wealthy. This report provides a detailed overview of energy taxation – the current policy context, household energy prices and the impact of energy taxation on financially disadvantaged citizens. The Energy Taxation Directive (ETD) that is currently under revision is also discussed together with the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and national carbon taxes as the main instruments used in the EU to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Furthermore, as the redistribution of the tax revenue is crucial for the success of the energy transition, we explore different ways of using the revenue of energy taxation such as supporting further efforts to cut the GHG emissions or offsetting the burdens on the poor by increasing welfare benefits, re-investing the revenue through special schemes (e.g. renovation subsidies), supporting households with lump-sum transfers and other. 

Download the Publication here: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC123486 

This article/publication is based upon work from COST Action CA16232 (ENGAGER), supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) 

A framework for ‘right to energy’ to meet UN SDG7: Policy implications to meet basic human energy needs, eradicate energy poverty, enhance energy justice, and uphold energy democracy 

Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 79, September 2021, Link: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1dNir7tZ6ZtdAn 


Access to electricity on the global scale has improved substantially in the past 30 years; yet, in 2018, an estimated 831 million people still have no access. The UN SDG7, ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’, aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all and outlines actions needed internationally and nationally. At present, however, many countries lack any legal basis to trigger or reinforce policy actions; in fact, in some cases, existing measures would hamper achievement of SDG7 by 2030. Access to energy as a fundamental human right that needs to be safeguarded by government actions and interventions has been advocated by some scholars. The study suggests that the concept of a ‘right to energy’ can serve as a good foundation and justification for governments and other actors to intervene or address issues such as lack of access to energy and energy services, energy poverty, energy injustice, and lack of energy democracy. Indeed, a rights-based concept establishes implications of the state’s duties and obligations to tackle these issues. This study explores the possibility of a practical framework for developing or implementing policies that uphold a right to energy. Implications drawn from the policy framework include a suite of practical actions and prompt further debates that may strengthen, safeguard, fulfil, and protect individual rights to energy. 

 Dr. Chian-Woei Shyu 

The Role of the Ombudsman in Energy Poverty Alleviation 

Stojilovska, A. (2021). Energy poverty and the role of institutions: exploring procedural energy justice – Ombudsman in focus. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/1523908X.2021.1940895  

This paper aims to explore the role of institutions, and specifically of the Ombudsman, in creating and practicing policies with relevance to energy poverty as a case of procedural energy (in)justice in a European context, while refining procedural energy justice. It is empirically informed by studies about the Austrian energy utility-based Ombudsman and the independent Ombudsman in North Macedonia, countries with a low and high level of energy poverty, respectively. I highlight the unexplored institutional capacity of the independent Ombudsman to discover hidden institutional energy poverty drivers, and the utility-based Ombudsman to alleviate energy poverty, and contribute to a socially just energy transition. The energy market and social welfare system are important institutions co-shaping energy poverty, and the energy utility plays an especially relevant role in creating or preventing energy injustices. Procedural energy justice applied to energy poverty is about how institutions treat citizens over access to affordable energy, and how citizens are (dis)empowered by that relationship.