/ Connecting the dots among fields of relevance to energy, climate and social justice is critical to a just, clean transition.
Connecting to boost awareness and amplify action
Since its launch in 2016, EnAct has been invited to partner or participate in a wide range of projects seeking to tackle energy poverty. Often, we bring the unique combination of in-depth understanding of the diverse aspects of the energy sector, journalistic training and skills across the full suite of creative arts. Our contributors span a wide range of energy experts and content creators; each project creates opportunity for cross-learning to deliver high-quality outputs.
Several of the projects featured below are ongoing. Others are ready to ramp up again as soon as additional funding is secured. We believe all of them are important to efforts to boost energy knowledge and know-how, and to enhancing opportunities for energy citizenship. For more information, drop us a line: email@example.com
Recent EU policy obliges member states to take concrete action across two key areas to advance a just, clean energy transition.
First, governments must acknowledge that energy poverty exists, collect relevant data and devise strategies to eradicate it. In turn, directives for energy efficiency and the energy performance of buildings, for example, include obligations to improve the housing stock.
Second, the EU recognises the potential for locally owned and operated energy systems (e.g. energy communities or ECs) to accelerate the clean transition and boost citizen engagement.
The CEES project, funded through the EU Horizon 2020 scheme, is a consortium of six entities that operate as ECs and/or have experience in tackling energy poverty. Over the course of the project (2021-24), each partner will integrate new practices into its programme, taking inspiration from the expertise of others.
Notably, a CEES survey designed to assess the degree to which ECs are already tackling energy poverty found ‘strong will’ but ‘weak action’. Of ~100 respondents, more than 80% indicated this as an important area of activity. Most, however, said they lack resources or feel uncertain of how to get started.
This confirms the need for the ultimate output of CEES: an Energy Solidarity Toolkit that gives concrete advice across five interrelated areas: how to identify people in energy poverty; strategies to engage with households and with other stakeholders; various ways to act, whether through soft or hard measures; building up necessary support (through legal and regulatory frameworks and financing schemes); and finding ways to measure the impact of actions. To ensure the CEES Toolkit is of high value to ECs, the University of Birmingham will evaluate pilots undertaken.
With the end goal of engaging people in debates and decisions regarding energy production and consumption, Walking with Energy (WWE) aims to make the resource we all rely on – every minute of every day – ‘less invisible’.
Through videos, WWE takes people ‘inside’ energy systems to explain how they work. Public screenings include panel discussions that cover technical, environmental, political and social aspects of local energy services. In turn, novel interactive elements take the project inside people’s minds, teasing out information on their knowledge and attitudes before and after participating in an event. Notably, a short video on waste-to-energy has been viewed 44 000 times on YouTube.
A series of blogs draws on oral history techniques to probe personal experiences of energy, including transitions from coal, oil and gas to cleaner options like solar and wind.
Developed by Sheffield Hallam and Nottingham Trent Universities (UK), Lund University (Sweden) and EnAct,* the project is a highly innovative, creative and low-cost way of investigating modern society’s relationship with energy.
WWE starts from the reality that we are completely dependent on something that is largely invisible. That creates a massive disconnect between our consumption and associated environmental consequences. It also tends to make us disengaged from decisions about how the energy we use is produced and delivered to us, in terms of modes of generation, types of energy and distribution systems.
WWE partners believe the methods underpinning this project will encourage participants to reduce energy consumption and boost their environmental citizenship. The model offers great scope for use in both social and commercial purposes.
*The project was funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.
Over a four-year period (2017-21), EnAct was involved in multiple activities of the Energy Poverty Action: Agenda Co-Creation and Knowledge Innovation (ENGAGER) project, a research network funded via the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST) scheme.
Using the full suite of COST networking instruments, ENGAGER probed the causes of energy poverty and investigated ways to combat it. Importantly, it built the skills of young researchers and facilitated cross-disciplinary work across diverse geographical regions.
EnAct was most directly engaged in developing a series of podcasts and a policy document that explore aspects of energy justice. Specifically, EnAct investigated concepts related to the principle of access to energy as a basic human right from the perspectives of international law, policy frameworks, social and cultural norms and in relation to other human rights.
EnAct also offered training and/or mentoring to academics and practitioners, providing workshops on using data for storytelling, improving writing skills or preparing social media content for various audiences.
The ENGAGER network grew to include more than 200 members (researchers and practitioners) from over 40 countries. Their collective outputs (academic papers, policy briefings, etc.) far surpassed initial projects, even as budgets were reduced and activity was constrained by the COVID‑19 pandemic.
In light of the ongoing energy crisis and growing numbers of people affected by energy poverty, securing stable and more flexible funding could re-capture the momentum of this dynamic network. Their wide-ranging expertise and experience is of enormous value to policy making and shaping frameworks that support true energy citizenship.
EnAct has also been directly involved in the following EU or international level initiatives that focus on raising awareness, advocacy or concrete action to tackle energy poverty. As such, we bring global insights and help foster collaboration among diverse entities and people.
Connect with EnAct on social media channels:
The ENERGY ACTION Project
EnAct is a project of ACT 4, a non-profit association registered in France (No. de Siret: 805 036 936 00013) that supports cultural initiatives that raise awareness of and engagement in social issues.
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