By networking and leveraging partnerships, energiaTa wants to work with communities to tackle energy poverty in Romania. In addition to ensuring everyone has access to clean, affordable energy, it aims to lower energy bills by improving energy efficiency and also find ways to improve incomes.
Energy poverty is a problem with many causes, some of which include low income, high energy prices, low energy efficiency, and a lack of policy to support clean energy development. In Romania, an additional challenge is the large number – estimated at 100 000 to 400 000 – of households not yet connected to the electricity grid.
To design and implement solutions tailored to address specific causes in individual communities, energiaTa aims to partner with micro-financing institutions, businesses, NGOs, experts and other organisations across Romania. In some cases, the partnerships will provide, directly to consumers, services and products that improve energy efficiency in homes and reduce energy bills. In others, key actions will focus on skill development and education to increase household incomes and overall economic development.
To date, energiaTa has successfully campaigned for legislation in Romania that supports the concept of ‘energy prosumers’ – i.e. giving people the right to produce locally their own energy using solar panels and to feed that energy into the grid. Until this year there were zero prosumers in Romania. In June of this year, there were around 130 and by the end of 2020, energiaTa expects more than 30 000 energy prosumers.
Looking forward, energiaTa plans to first assist those who cannot afford electricity by identifying solar systems that people could lease for an affordable monthly fee; this helps to address the reality that buying such systems outright is a significant cost barrier. The organisation plans to test and assess various solutions through a pilot project in Ferentari, a low-income community near Bucharest. In a second phase, energiaTa will work with households that currently lack energy access.
As they develop their knowledge of the causes and effects of energy poverty and their understanding of the business and financials aspects of existing solutions, energiaTa will also build local networks to expand and strengthen enhance the programme.
energiaTa is one of 15 finalists in the 2019 Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty Initiative, launched by the Schneider Electric Foundation, Enel, and the Ashoka Foundations of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.