JUStice in Transition and EMpowerment against Energy Poverty (JUSTEM)
Reducing local energy poverty by engaging the population in the transition to a greener future
CAC is involved in the implementation of the JUSTEM Project funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Commission. The project is implemented with the participation of IEECP, the Netherlands (Coordinator); BSERC, Bulgaria; CAC, Bulgaria; IRENA, Croatia; NTUA, Greece; KAPE, Poland; AISVJ, Romania; HFH, Slovakia; FAEN, Spain. JUSTEM will address the challenge of making just transition successful in the following coal regions: Stara Zagora in Bulgaria, Western Macedonia in Greece, Region of Istria in Croatia, Slaskie Voivodeship in Poland, Jiu Valley in Romania, and Asturias in Spain. The project will run from 1 November 2022 to 30 April 2025 and will be implemented in one phase.
JUSTEM starts at a critical time: although renewables could bring important cost savings and net social gains, some EU member states are calling for a smoother phase-out of coal to compensate for the shortage of fossil gas (and high energy prices). However, only clean energy can maintain a safer climate and end the crises: renewable energy lower energy prices and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and more efficient households reduce the risk of energy poverty. Territorial just transition plans are critical to facilitate green and socially accepted transitions from coal. JUSTEM will address a wide range of transition-related issues that go beyond the purely technical aspects and include health, structural development, re-training of workers, and new economic opportunities. Following a double-sided approach, JUSTEM will help regional authorities to develop and implement plans that are sensitive to local impacts, while engaging citizens and build confidence in a coal-free economy.
The overall objective of JUSTEM is to build regional capacity and involve citizens in the development or implementation of the regions’ energy and climate plans to adapt them to their needs. JUSTEM intends to facilitate policy development, especially just transition planning, by increasing the uptake of sustainable energy solutions.
- Conduct workshops and activities developed under the project in the coal pilot regions to enable capacity building among citizens;
- Evaluate and target energy poverty in the regions;
- Design project pipelines from the bottom up and make them ready for funding through the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) and other funding sources;
- Support replication and scaling of the developed project pipelines and approaches for a just energy transition.
Learn more about the JUSTEM Project by visiting: https://ieecp.org/projects/justem/.
JUSTEM comes at the right time against a backdrop of turbulence in the just energy transition process in Europe. The project will become a living lab for the implementation of sustainable approaches to empower citizens from the coal regions to actively participate in the ongoing accelerated transformations and strategies for energy poverty alleviation.
The need to guarantee justice and inclusiveness by providing fair distribution, full recognition of rights, equal participation in decision-making, reduction or compensation for future detriments necessitates a more holistic understanding of the energy transition. When we talk about energy poverty in the JUSTEM coal regions, the complexity of the energy poverty phenomenon is a result of the intersection and interaction of the three fundamental dimensions – the Built, the Social and the Just. In JUSTEM, local citizens with their needs and concerns have a pivotal role.
Actions to tackle energy poverty are vital: although access to affordable and clean energy is a key sustainable development goal, about 3 billion people in the world do not have access to modern energy sources for cooking, heating or cooling their homes. At the end of February, the second edition of the International Energy Poverty Action Week (IEPAW) brought together different stakeholders in the field of energy poverty.
The global energy crisis threatens to exacerbate energy poverty and push new communities into vulnerability. Governments are called upon to care for their citizens, to look at energy poverty beyond the numbers and to build socially-sensitive energy policies that put people first. Systemic changes in energy demand and supply are needed to tackle energy poverty in the long term and provide affordable and clean energy for all. What we have learned - the 10 takeways from the International Energy Poverty Action Week.
Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.