What exactly makes energy a good that people should be entitled to? Is it a basic good? A common? Or a commodity that should be affordable? In social science, energy has been acknowledged as equivalent to “power”, meaning it can enable and drive human development. Does that make energy equally important for human life as water or food? We do know a lot about the consumption of energy, but the meaning of energy for human development in general and for individuals to thrive is less clear.
Do (should) people have a right to (basic) free energy? What are people’s essential material and social energy needs, and how to guarantee that everyone has access to this in a manner they can afford? The session includes presentations from organizations working towards universal free energy, and will consider best practices, opportunities, and limitations from past and present free and affordable energy policies, including as adopted during COVID-19, or more generally across Europe, for example in Belgium.
Topic 3A right to energy as a solution to energy poverty?
The invited activists and practitioners helped us draw lessons from existing rights (such as the right to water and to housing) and from existing right to energy campaigns in order to develop together a reflection and proposals to answer the question above.
Topic 4Invisible energy precarious groups: marginalization and policy discrimination?
Who are the invisible energy precarious groups? What needs to be done? What are the barriers to achieve ‘what needs to be done’? How can we overcome these barriers? In this context, the ENGAGER right to energy toolkit aims to assist scholars, civil society, policy-makers, students and media in engaging with energy poverty through the concept and language of the ‘right to energy’. It is a collaborative effort through which more than 25 ENGAGER researchers and practitioners are jointly reflecting on the principles and practice of the right to energy.
Topic 5How to address energy poverty in the context of COVID-19?
What are the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on household energy poverty across Europe? What are key concerns and what are good policies for ensuring continuous, affordable, access to energy supplies to people during the crisis? How to address energy poverty in short-term and long-term COVID-19 response and recovery efforts?