Energy efficiency to fight energy poverty in Portugal

ADENE organized a national policy debate on social housing for the forthcoming Portuguese Strategy to Fight Energy Poverty

On May 13th, ADENE organized a digital policy debate dedicated to the Portuguese “Long-term National Strategy to Fight Energy Poverty 2021-2050”. The document was in public consultation from April 15th to May 17th and the online session was devoted in particular to collect advises and point of views on social housing and its role in fighting energy poverty.

Energy poverty affects a significant number of Portuguese households. Addressing the energy efficiency of social housing represents an important contribution in the fight against energy poverty. For this reason, the “Long-term National Strategy to Fight Energy Poverty 2021-2050” establishes a strategic framework to promote social housing improvements through specific energy rehabilitation actions. The Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan will allocate more than €1.2 billion to strengthen housing policy and to fund the rehabilitation of social houses.

More than 80 people participated to the debate, mainly representatives of the organizations responsible for the implementation of the Strategy and in particular for its actions on social housing improvements: the Directorate General for Energy and Geology, ADENE – the Portuguese Energy Agency, The Housing and Urban Rehabilitation Institute, the municipalities and the local energy agencies.

The debate was rich of contributions and insights. ADENE, as moderator of the session, drew some conclusions that address the Portuguese “Long-term National Strategy to Fight Energy Poverty 2021-2050”:

  • The need to recognize the renovation of the envelope of buildings as a priority (walls, roofs, and glazed windows/spans) since the poor performance of these components is pointed out as one of the main causes of energy poverty.
  • The need to promote and create (innovative) financing mechanisms that combine public, private funding and innovative formats, so that citizens ‘communities can develop projects to renovate their building, improve energy efficiency and produce renewable energy, involving different types of stakeholders, regardless of their financial capacity.
  • Energy communities also have a role, but there needs to be an integrated approach that first considers energy efficiency issues before producing renewable energy.

The session was also an opportunity for the Portuguese Association of Energy and Environment Agencies (RNAE) to invite the National Association of Parishes (ANAFRE) to establish a new joint cooperation to develop a new holistic and integrated approach for the training of low-income families, through the creation of Energy Information Centers in parishes, with the support of local energy agencies. An interesting result that went beyond the initial expectations on the debate.