Schneider Electric continues its campaigning efforts and commitment to offer technological solutions to help fight fuel poverty in Europe
A key player in the energy management and automation market is further stepping up its campaign to help fight energy poverty. Schneider Electric is joining forces with the European Policy Centre, an independent, not-for-profit, to launch the Energy Poverty Task Force to consider energy poverty challenges in the European Union. It is being supported by the King Baudouin Foundation whose mission it is to improve living conditions for the population.
The task force points out that energy poverty is not just a problem in developing countries but affects people in mature economies who do not have normal and regular access to the energy necessary to cover their basic domestic needs such as heating, power and cooking. It is caused by a combination of low incomes, higher electricity prices and poor building energy performance. For example, according to the French National Energy Poverty Monitor, energy poverty affects nearly 20 per cent of the French population.
At the end of last year, Schneider published a white paper entitled Resolving Energy Poverty in Europe: Understanding the Initiatives and Solutions. Its aim is to foster the emergence of a virtuous circle by focusing on three areas: education, investment and technology. It is now exploring how its actions can be put to best use to be most effective in its actions hence its partnership with the European Policy Centre in the Energy Poverty Task Force.
Its work in this area has been ongoing for several years though having launched the Schneider Electric Foundation in 1998 under the aegis of the Foundation de France to tackle the world’s energy gap. It is engaged in a number of initiatives with different partners. This includes offering concrete energy management solutions for families concerned in Belgium while in France it unveiled a sustainable social housing concept for social housing charity Habitat et Humanisme, and in association with the employment agency La Varappe. Designed from containers, houses are fully recyclable and incorporate Schneider Electric’s Wiser energy efficiency solution to manage energy consumption.
In September 2015, the Foundation and Ashoka, the global network of social entrepreneurs, launched a call for projects entitled Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty which aimed to encourage exciting new social ideas for improving the living conditions of millions of people in six European countries (Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic). The Mentoring sessions with the 14 winners are currently ongoing for this with the final event held in June.