Policies to decarbonise residential buildings in Central, Eastern and Southern EU: impact on energy poverty and mitigation strategies

Almost 34 million Europeans are unable to keep their homes adequately warm, and just as energy prices keep rising, the European Union is increasingly targeting energy poverty in its policy action.  

To better understand how to measure and identify energy poverty and evaluate the adequate policies, IEECP established for the European Climate Foundation a study divided into 3 workstreams. The 3 studies provide deep insights into the 10 countries with the highest energy poverty levels in the EU (Bulgaria, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain) as well as Europe as a whole.

The European Green Deal could bring down the energy bills of lowest-income households by one-third and boost their disposable income in the medium to long term

The study: 

  • Identifies the current situation of the lower-income households in the countries and the policies addressing energy poverty in CEE/SEE countries,   
  • Estimates the policy impacts to decarbonize residential buildings for energy poor households from 2030-2050. The 3 measures focused on are Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), ETS extension and the phasing out of fossil fuel boilers. The calculations provided the final energy consumption of low-income households in these 3 policies. 
  • Identifies measures to address the policies’ impacts on low-income households in the target countries. Which policy instruments and available funding could help cover costs and support low-income households (Social Climate Fund, ETS1 and 2 revenues, Just Transition Fund, Resilience Fund and national allocations, and more)?

This study shows that through establishing a combination of building regulations and pricing mechanisms, and through providing the right type and scale of support, the EU can include low-income households in the energy transition, empowering them to deploy effective and structural solutions that will improve their quality of life and help them move away from dependence on imported fossil fuels, while contributing to reducing GHG emissions from their homes.

Status of Energy Poverty and policies addressing it in CEE/SEE countries.

The first report gives a thorough analysis of the current state of energy poverty in the 10 targeted countries with a collection of indicators based on energy efficiency, social and economic factors, health and wellbeing. The existing policies tackling energy poverty and gaps were also identified by national experts and compared to the current status of energy poverty in each country.  

Impacts of policies on low-income households in target countries. 

The study focuses on the policy impacts to decarbonize residential buildings for energy poor households. The study focuses on 3 main policies:  

  • Minimum energy performance standards 
  • ETS 
  • Phasing out of fossil fuel boilers 

The calculations provide the final energy consumption of low-income households for these 3 policies.  

Measures to address the policies impacts on low-income households in target countries. 

The final report provides input on which policy instruments and available funding could help cover costs and support low-income households. You can find numbers from the Social Climate Fund, ETS1 and 2, Just Transition Fund, Resilience Fund and national allocations, and more based on each country and how they can or cannot cover the costs in the coming years.  

A summary report – “A socially-just EU Renovation Wave” – gathers findings and recommendations, including the infographics on the potential impact of the EU Renovation Wave per country.

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