In the fight against climate change we must tackle energy poverty, but we can’t overlook fuel poverty.
They’re completely different problems.
Energy poverty impacts those with little or no access to sustainable energy (and having to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity), while fuel poverty refers to those who have access to it… they just can’t afford it.
Fuel poverty is where households have to spend more than 10% of their income on heating or cooking, which in turn puts them below the poverty line.
It’s not a problem limited to developing nations – it’s right on our doorsteps.
In the United States, nearly 14m people live in fuel poverty.
Across Europe between 50m and 125m are unable to heat their homes.
When we look at the United Kingdom, 2.53m of households living in fuel poverty.
- 11% of households in England are classified as suffering from fuel poverty
- in Wales that figure is 12%.
- in Northern Ireland 22%
- and that increases to a massive 25% in Scotland.
Northern areas of the UK are worst affected, but by far the largest demographic are single-parent households.
Looking even closer to home (Kent), more than 57,500 households struggle to afford their monthly energy bills.
Poverty fuel gap
While low household incomes and inefficient housing stock are a huge factor, we also need to see energy bills decrease by £321 year to tackle fuel poverty in the UK.
Offshore wind farms don’t fix the problem. Energy decreases the further you have to transmit it, so voltage has to be increased as it comes onshore, bumping up the cost.
With actual energy getting cheaper, we now have to reduce the transmission/delivery costs associated with it
Decentralised energy solutions go a long way in addressing fuel poverty in around the world. By generating energy where the demand is, we can reduce the transmission costs and drastically impact the lives of those in our communities, by generating energy locally.
Innovations in localised energy generation like Alpha 311, community-focused initiatives (like Octopus Energy’s Fan Club) and energy storage solutions, will radically change the way we deliver energy to customers in future.
Only if anyone has the balls to actually reduce* the transmission costs.
*Octopus Energy Fan Club has a 20% reduction while their local turbine is spinning and that increases to 50% when it’s really windy