Energy poverty in the European Union: landscapes of vulnerability

Authors


  • The author has declared no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.

  • The copyright line in this article was changed on 26 November 2015 after online publication.

Abstract

Energy poverty can be seen as situation in which a household lacks a socially and materially necessitated level of energy services in the home. In the context of the European Union (EU), its causes and consequences largely coincide with those of the more narrowly defined notion of ‘fuel poverty’, which has attracted a significant amount of public attention, scientific research, and state policy in Ireland and the UK. Outside of these two countries, however, EU energy poverty scholarship, debates, and policies are embryonic. From the limited amount of research that has been published to date, it is possible to conclude that the condition is predicated upon high energy prices, low household incomes, inefficient buildings and appliances, and specific households energy needs. It is particularly widespread in Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe, where it tends to affect groups who are already vulnerable to income poverty. Recent years have seen a conceptual shift in the mainstream theorization of domestic energy deprivation, onto more complex and nuanced issues of household needs, built environment flexibility, and social resilience.

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