Europe has just experienced its hottest summer ever, winter is just around the corner – and the energy crisis is ongoing. If you’re an energy community keen to practice energy solidarity, CEES has experience and insights to share!

Testing and validating mechanisms to alleviate energy poverty is central to the CEES project. As Partners wrap up their pilots, CEES is preparing a series of weekly webinars (every Monday, from 30 October to 20 November) to stimulate open sharing and frank discussion.

Each session will follow a format designed to foster interaction:

  • CEES Partners will present their efforts, covering successes, challenges, adaptations and what simply didn’t work.
  • University of Birmingham will describe how they will evaluate these aspect of CEES pilots.
  • A long Q&A will give participants lots of time to probe deeper or share briefly about their own aims or approaches.
  • A guest expert will highlight approaches and experience beyond CEES while also responding to the preceding interactions.

Keep scrolling for webinar themes and details.

Session 1: Connecting with vulnerable people (Mon 30/10/23, 13:00-14:30 CET)

For energy communities ZEZ (Croatia) and Coopernico (Portugal), taking up a mission to tackle energy poverty is new territory. For Enercoop, a clean energy supplier, trying to identify whether customers behind on energy bills are truly vulnerable required educating staff. All have discovered that identifying and truly engaging with vulnerable people is difficult and resource-intensive. Each will talk about approaches taken up, adaptations needed for their own contexts and aims, and surprises encountered along the way.

To close the session, Nina Campbell, an energy justice policy advisor, will talk about her recent experience in helping the Government of New Zealand reframe both dialogue about energy vulnerability and action to address it.  Part of the effort focused on developing indicators that better reflect broader aspects of the lived experience, beyond thermal comfort, quality of the dwelling and ability to pay bills. Critically, new language sought to reduce the barrier of stigma.

Session 2: Connecting with ‘Middle Actors’ (Mon, 6/11/23, 09:00-10:30 CET – NOTE earlier time to accommodate presenter from New Zealand)

In this session, we’ll have presentations from CEES Partners ALIenergy, Coopernico, Repowering London and Les 7 Vents that focus on ‘who else’ they needed to collaborate with in their local communities to effectively identify and engage with vulnerable households. As some discovered, collaboration can bring both rewards and risks. This makes it super-important to make sure everyone’s goals align and to establish — up front — clear terms of engagement.

This session will also feature Dr. Sea Rotmann, who will recap extensive research on ‘how to reach hard-to-reach energy consumers’ – including why that term is unhelpful. Drawing on evaluation of several campaigns launched by governments and energy stakeholders that failed miserably, she’ll dive into why energy communities need to ‘co-design’ information to better serve the people who need it. She’ll also give some practical advice on how to go about it. 

Session 3: Practical ways to make a difference (Mon, 13/11/23 / 13:00-14:30 CET)

In Session 3, CEES will shift the focus to Partner efforts to take action, whether through ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ measures.

Coopernico and ZEZ will share insights into challenges they faced in ‘getting through the front door’ to truly help vulnerable households with soft measures (e.g. cozy kits, energy audits, and energy saving tips).

Les 7 vents will describe how a ‘3SR’ (shared and supported self-renovation) approach can both reduce renovation costs and build community.

Franck Billeau, Reseau Eco-habit will explain a deep renovation strategy that leverages government subsidies and how he approaches building trust to truly empower low-income households.

Session 4: Creating an ecosystem for sustained action (Mon, 20/11/23 / 13:00-14:30 CET)

More information coming soon!

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The CEES project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101026972.