Funded Projects

Children’s fight against energy poverty

The project Children’s fight against energy poverty aims to get to know the lived experience of the children in Cañada Real and to identify and denounce the impacts of energy poverty in their lives but also to outline the advocacy process they have conducted and how they have taken part into the fight for energy justice. The project will be held with the support of local organisations and will contribute to raise public and policy awareness about the impacts of energy poverty on children’s lives and about the importance of giving them a voice in activism, advocacy and research.

Irene González Pijuan, Sheffield Hallam University
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Energy culture in energy poverty settings in south Chile

This project is a collaborative work between two PhD students from the Energy Poverty Network in Chile to show and disseminate qualitative research findings of social housing households’ energy culture, living in an energy poverty setting in Coyhaique city, Chile. This project aims to link two research findings to advance knowledge and to collaboratively promote policy impact by producing audio-visual material and a Spanish language scientific paper. The outcomes will be released through an online seminar (Covid-19 safe) with local and national stakeholders and policy makers and through the Energy Poverty Network (RedPE) webpage and associated social media.

Alejandra Cortés, Universidad de Chile
Catalina Amigo, Universidad de Chile
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Translating community based research on electrification into resources for policy and practice

A major issue in rural electrification is the lack of understanding of community perspectives when projects and policies are designed. This project builds on Hannah’s interdisciplinary research on community experiences of rural electrification in Tanzania. She found that energy projects are often implemented in ways which increase structural inequalities, disadvantaging already marginalised groups. This project will reanalyse this research to create resources for policy makers and practitioners, including stakeholders throughout the process.

Hannah Mottram, University of Sheffield
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The lived experience of energy poverty in Georgia

The project aims to explore the lived experience of energy poverty in Georgia by employing video ethnography to visually depict how energy poverty is manifested in daily lives, and how those who experience it find ways to cope. The project will visually depict the lived experience of energy poverty not only at home but also in “third spaces,” such as libraries, as well as in relation to transportation and working and studying conditions (especially given the need for teleworking and remote learning during the Covid pandemic). The project contributes to internalizing energy poverty research by studying and documenting the reasons for and manifestations of energy poverty in a relatively underexplored geographical context and to broadening the concept of energy poverty by providing evidence that in Georgia energy poverty is a year-round problem.

Nino Antadze, University of Prince Edward Island
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Investigating cognitive effects of energy poverty

Community energy drives a democratic approach in the energy transition. Enabling local citizens to participate, community energy provides a voice and choice to all energy consumers. Their membership data, however, often suggests a different picture. Especially vulnerable and energy-poor households do not participate. In consequence, the most vulnerable miss out on energy communities' benefits. The reasons for their exclusion - although speculated about - remain widely unknown. This project sets out to investigate the perspective of the energy poor. How do they perceive energy communities and their participation in them? We carry out interviews and an online experiment to investigate energy poverty's impact on the involvement in community energy initiatives.

Florian Hanke, European University Viadrina
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Understanding cooling poverty and thermal comfort in disadvantaged communities of Rio de Janeiro

Increasing temperatures and heatwaves are a deadly threat in tropical geographies where precarious urban infrastructures, informal urbanisation, and systemic social exclusion create new forms of thermal vulnerabilities. This project intends to understand the lived experiences of cooling poverty in vulnerable black communities and the interactions between different sources of material and immaterial deprivations in the city of Rio de Janeiro. To do so, this project engages with qualitative approaches such as interviews and energy diaries. A participatory, people-centric notion of ‘cooling poverty’ will be brought to the attention of local authorities; academia and energy policy makers.

Antonella Mazzone, University of Oxford
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What happened to the outside? Exploring the role of ‘nature’ in household retrofits

This project explores the intersections between household retrofit, energy vulnerability and local environments. Trees, other plants, the weather and climate are central actors influencing urban health, wellbeing and equity, the thermal performance of housing and the adaptive capacities of householders in response to extreme weather. Yet the role of these environmental elements in energy vulnerability and retrofit remains under-explored. This project investigates how placing trees and plants, climate and heat, more firmly into discussions of household retrofit and fuel poverty might inform policy and practice.

Sarah Robertson, RMIT University
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Precariousness in the access to electricity through prepayment meters in Hungary (PREPAY)

Prepayment meters are often associated with energy poverty. In countries like the UK, Australia, Germany or Austria they are offered as an alternative billing method to vulnerable consumers with a record of unpaid bills and indebtedness. In Hungary, recent years have seen a surge of prepayment meters among households irregularly connected to the electricity grid or indebted to providers, especially in segregated areas where many poor Roma live. The research intends to generate policy-relevant knowledge on the everyday life impacts and ethnic dimensions of prepayment meters taking Hungary as a case study. It will make use of a unique qualitative dataset of transcripts from 34 interviews conducted among Hungarian households and stakeholders in the winter of 2020.

Sergio Tirado, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
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Multiple vulnerabilities – Examining the fuel and food poverty nexus

There is a lack of consideration of the intersectionality of vulnerability types and multiple hardships, such as choosing between heating and eating, in research and practice. With fuel and food insecurity, the “heat or eat” dilemma occurs when households are forced to decide between nutritious food and adequate energy services. This increases vulnerability to cold and heat by reducing resilience and the capability to cope. By studying the energy-food-poverty nexus through the lens of environmental justice and capabilities, this project looks at poverty as a spatio-temporal outcome of a set of practices and provides new insights into multiple vulnerabilities.

Bhavna Middha, RMIT University
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