The following is a speech given by E3G Senior Associate and former MEP Theresa Griffin on fighting energy poverty at Progressive Housing Week, January 2021. The event was organised by PES Group, European Committee of the Regions.
In 2016, the Socialists and Democrats published the first Energy Poverty Manifesto, in 2017 we achieved higher ambition for renewables and energy efficiency. In the Governance of the Energy Union we enshrined fighting energy poverty for the first time in EU law. For every 1% increase in energy efficiency targets, 3 million homes can be properly renovated and 7 million people lifted out of energy poverty. Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption in the EU and contribute 36% of total emissions. This is why the S&D Group issued a position paper yesterday outlining affordable housing, green buildings and quality jobs as key demands for the renovation market.
The Renovation Wave must build on the European Green Deal and the European Pillar of Social Rights, contributing to ambitious climate and social goals, building for a recovery that leaves no one behind. Engaging and consulting with citizens through Climate Assemblies.
The green transition and Renovation Wave will not succeed if our most vulnerable citizens are not on board. The cost of renovations is often too high for our most vulnerable households and we must make energy efficient renovation affordable for all. This means an EU framework to fight energy poverty, target energy efficiency measures on energy poor citizens, improve retail market conditions to support energy poor citizens, promote energy self-consumption, ban disconnections and automatically place citizens on the cheapest energy tariff.
The fast and efficient implementation of the Renovation Wave strategy can be a real win win: emissions can be cut, climate action taken, local jobs created and living conditions improved for huge numbers of Europeans. Today, 50 million Europeans live in energy poverty. From now on, no citizen should have to choose between eating or cooling or heating their homes.