Four organizations in the Latvian city of Jelgava recently joined forces to tackle energy poverty. The Zemgale Regional Energy Agency (ZREA), along with the STEP partner Latvian National Association for Consumer Protection (LPIAA), SIA Gren Jelgava and Jelgava City Municipal Operational Information Center (POIC) are four organizations who, in spite of their varied nature, have united to work to promote energy poverty reduction not only in the central city of Jelgava, but also in the southeastern Jēkabpils region, Auce territory in the southwest, the Zemgale region and throughout Latvia as a whole. Various activities to improve the situation of the energy poor are taking place within the framework of four different projects funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program.
Since 2019, LPIAA has been implementing the Horizon 2020 project “Solutions to Prevent Energy Poverty” (STEP). Meanwhile, green energy company SIA Gren Jelgava is implementing the H2020 project “Connecting Responsible Parties to Adopt Innovative Schemes for Reducing Energy Poverty” (SocialWatt). Since 2020, ZREA has been implementing the Horizon 2020 project “Reducing Energy Poverty through Energy Community Initiatives” (PowerPoor), while as a “newcomer” to the energy poverty reduction projects, POIC launched the Horizon 2020 project “Improving Health, Well-being and Equality through Evidence-Based Urban Policies to Combat Energy Poverty” (WELLBASED) in 2021.
The fact that four organizations in one city are simultaneously implementing energy poverty projects highlights the importance of the topic in Latvia. To better coordinate their efforts, representatives of LPIAA, ZREA, Gren Jelgava and POIC held a meeting at the beginning of August 2021 to discuss possible cooperation in achieving goals together, believing that by cooperation the goals can be achieved more effectively.
Not only local residents are involved in projects to reduce energy poverty, but also the Jelgava city municipal administration, the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, social services, house management companies, and civil society organizations. The stakeholders will work to highlight the problem of energy poverty and raise public awareness of the importance of the problem, and the possibilities for solving it.