A policy paper “Energy poverty in Greece; Social innovation proposals to tackle the phenomenon” was recently published by the Heinrich Βöll Foundation Greece in collaboration with the social cooperative 'Wind of Renewal' and ΙΝΖΕΒ – the Institute of Zero Energy Buildings.
By Nikos Chrysogelos*
In this policy paper, the factors comprising the multi-faceted problem of energy poverty are introduced as well as its social, economic and environmental consequences. Policies and good examples for dealing with the phenomenon from various European countries are presented.
The main focus is a series of proposals for tackling this big issue in Greece. More specifically, these proposals demonstrate the need for a holistic approach of green, social innovation that, in conjunction with the adequate documentation of the phenomenon, can provide viable solutions, with respect to the current circumstances in the country. The proposals focus on four main areas:
- changes in policy
- information and education
- increase of the energy efficiency of buildings and
- the use of renewable energy sources.
The policy paper supports the approach that schemes based on the application of energy efficiency measures are needed as well as prioritization of the citizens' benefit, the protection of public health, and the improvement of economic indicators at the community, municipal, regional, and national level through the creation of new jobs.
The proposals are intended to represent sustainable solutions for the indirect increase of household income, rather than the introduction of subsidies, with the aim of simultaneous contribution to the national and European objectives regarding the protection of the environment and climate change. The schemes could also utilize European financial instruments and funding options, synergies and networking among stakeholders through collaborative energy associations, innovative business models and social housing.
* Nikos Chrysogelos is former MEP (The Greens/Greece) and President of 'Wind of Renewal'