I’m delighted to announce that I have been selected to present my abstract on “Social inclusion, poverty and the democratisation of the energy system” at the Energy and Society in Transition: 2nd International Conference on Research and Social Science 28-31 May 2019, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA.

I am willing to explore this topic because fighting energy poverty and climate change are linked by three words: respect, transparency and accountability. As you know, I believe clean energy does not mean the destruction and degradation of the environment but quite on the contrary, building a fair and sustainable future where people and nature are respected. Those concepts are at the heart of energy democracy and cooperative movements.

There is momentum around “citizens energy communities” within the Clean Energy for all Package adopted by the European Union. My investigations will aim at exploring the links between the paradigm shift in the ownership and governance of the electrical systems in Europe and social inclusion, in particular, the impact for people affected by energy poverty and vulnerability. 

The democratisation of the electricity system should allow citizens and energy consumers to take ownership of electricity production and related strategic choices, creating a more sustainable and resilient energy market. Energy democracy might offer new spaces for collaboration between ecology and social, economic and justice movements (Angel, 2016). However, it is unclear whether, in the European context, the impact will be as significant for the most vulnerable groups and those affected by energy poverty, i.e. more than 11% of the European population. 

The paper will argue that the lack of transparency in the governance and decision-making of incumbent suppliers lead to high energy prices and high costs, and therefore results in inadequate warmth, cooling, lighting and indecent standard of living and poor health, i.e. the usual indicators of energy poverty. An overly rigid regulatory framework can also prevent the emergence and development of smaller market players (European Committee of the Regions, 2018).

I aim to examine how current laws and policies structure markets and incentivise or discourage specific business models and market practices, and how they enable or challenge measures to mitigate energy poverty. In particular, if the Energy Union, which unlocks the European development of community-led renewable energy projects, is giving the right framework for bottom-up energy poverty alleviation.

This is the first time a paper I have conceptualised and thought through alone is accepted in such a prestigious context. This is, therefore, a great opportunity to explore a topic I am passionate about and on which I can make a difference.

This is why I need your help: I am looking for sponsors to help me through this investigation, cover my travel expenses and allow me to serenely dig into the multiple layers of the topic. It will result in articles, op-ed and policy papers that I will submit with your assistance!

Reach out to back me up!

Published by marinecornelis

Marine Cornelis works on the social aspects of the energy transition, in particular energy poverty and consumer empowerment

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