Publications of Tirado Herrero, S.

Trapped in the heat: A post-communist type of fuel poverty

Fuel poverty is a still insufficiently researched social and energy challenge with significant climate change implications. Based on evidence from Hungarian panel apartment blocks connected to district heating, this paper introduces a new variant of fuel poverty that may not be properly captured by existing fuel poverty indicators. This newly defined variant can be largely attributed to post-communist legacies - though it might also exist in other contexts - and assumes that consumers living in poor-efficiency, district-heated buildings are trapped in dwellings with adequate indoor temperatures but disproportionately high heating costs because (a) changing supplier or fuel is difficult because of the existing technical and institutional constraints, and (b) they do not realistically have the option to reduce individually their heating costs through individual efficiency improvements. This situation often translates into payment arrears, indebtedness, risk of disconnection, or reduced consumption of other basic goods and services. State-supported policy responses to date have favoured symptomatic solutions (direct consumer support) combined with superficial retrofits, though it is argued that only state-of-the-art retrofits such as the passive house-based SOLANOVA pilot project in Dunaújváros can fully eradicate fuel poverty in this consumer group. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Building synergies between climate change mitigation and energy poverty alleviation

Even though energy poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation are inextricably linked policy goals, they have remained as relatively disconnected fields of research inquiry and policy development. Acknowledging this gap, this paper explores the mainstream academic and policy literatures to provide a taxonomy of interactions and identify synergies and trade-offs between them. The most important trade-off identified is the potential increase in energy poverty levels as a result of strong climate change action if the internalisation of the external costs of carbon emissions is not offset by efficiency gains. The most significant synergy was found in deep energy efficiency in buildings. The paper argues that neither of the two problems - deep reductions in GHG emissions by mid-century, and energy poverty eradication - is likely to be solved fully on their own merit, while joining the two policy goals may provide a very solid case for deep efficiency improvements. Thus, the paper calls for a strong integration of these two policy goals (plus other key related benefits like energy security or employment), in order to provide sufficient policy motivation to mobilise a wide-scale implementation of deep energy efficiency standards. © 2012.