Energy efficiency: Key to social and economic security
With the Freedom and Solidarity Foundation
Friday 28th November 2014
Currently people face fuel poverty in many parts of Europe. Energy prices are becoming so unaffordable for some people, poorer and more vulnerable people being most at risk. The first way to bring energy bills down is to simply use less energy. The Baltic states has some of the worst conditions in Europe in terms of inadequately heated homes, poor insulation and financial burdens on housing.
Europe also faces a major security challenge related to importing energy resources from Russia. Next year in 2015 also aims to be a turning point for climate change objectives. Energy efficiency and saving energy can play a large role in curbing emissions.
A study by the Frauenhofer Institute found that a 40% efficiency target would cut energy imports by 80%. Improving efficiency can save costs, which will remain in the EU economy, educe the burden on the environment and reduce energy dependence from third countries such as Russia, where we see energy supply being used more and more as a political weapon. It may threaten independence and democratic systems of the EU Member States.
Various solutions are possible, for example more interconnection with other EU countries, a transition to increased renewables and for the short-term looking at other fossil fuel suppliers. Initiatives such as the energy performance certificates in buildings can help measure efficiency and waste.
Buildings are the second largest sector after energy production itself where savings can be made. Buildings also make up to40% of final energy consumption. Powering homes, shops, offices and other buildings has a huge potential for improving energy efficiency. Latvia, like many other countries in Europe and in Eastern Europe in particular, has huge residential areas built during Soviet times that are very energy inefficient. This causes economic and social pressure on households and results in more energy dependency on imports.
According to the Latvian Central Statistical Bureau data, in 2007 expenses for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels created 10.2% of an average family’s budget spending but in 2012 this expenditure share had risen to 16.8%. This means that households have less financial resources for education, health care, food and that overall financial situations of families gets worse. It also shows that the existing energy efficiency measures are not enough and not successful enough. Energy efficiency measures should reduce the population’s costs for household heating and maintenance.
On the backdrop of these issues this forum seeks to look at national, regional and EU responses and solutions to improving energy efficiency as one of the fundamental tools in improving social, economic and security problems.
Energy efficiency key to social and economic security
Friday 28th November 2014
09:30 – 15:00
09:30 – 10:00 Registration and coffee
10:00 – 11:30 Session 1
Current situation of energy efficiency in Latvia and the rest of Europe why energy efficiency can help social and economic problems
11:30 – 11:50 Coffee break
11:50 – 13:20 Session 2
Measures and tools for improving energy efficiency
13:20 – 13.40 Coffee break
13:40 – 15:00 Session 3
Next steps for energy efficiency. National policies, European legislation and international objectives and tools to improve efficiency
Representatives from Baltic state administration
Representatives from political parties
Representatives from Universities
Representatives from Trade unions
Representatives from NGO’s
Representatives from the private-sector
Representatives from Media
Representatives from FEPS and the Freedom and Solidarity Foundation
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