Across Europe, the awareness on energy poverty is growing rapidly and the issue is being increasingly integrated within the activities of the European Union, evidenced by the European Commission’s flagship legislative proposal “Clean Energy for All Europeans” announced on 30th November 2016. Some of the leading institutions working on energy poverty are the EU Energy Poverty Observatory and the European Energy Community. The EU Energy Poverty Observatory urges all relevant stakeholders working on energy poverty to build and expand a specialist network dedicated to addressing the issue across the Continent. According to their official website, the Observatory has been developed by 13 different institutions, including organizations, universities, and businesses. The advisory board is comprised of over 70 leading stakeholders from across Europe and it was officially established in 2018. Its creation is an effort of the European Commission to address energy poverty in a more systematic way, provide resources for public engagement, disseminate information and facilitate knowledge sharing.
There is a great difference between a mere survival of the humankind and the preservation of quality of life. That is why the role of justice in the green transition goes far beyond the entitlement to a safe and healthy environment. The coming climate crisis takes place in a world characterized by a whole variety of injustices, which affect all human rights. These injustices will probably be exacerbated by the crisis, on one hand because of deteriorating conditions and on the other due to weakening of social security policies and measures against growing inequalities.
Therefore, our problem is twofold: to develop strategies and policies of a green transition to decarbonised manufacturing, agriculture, and transport; and to do it in a way which not only does not deepen injustices and inequalities but creates conditions for life with dignity for all. In other words, the fundamental change of human relation to nature should be accompanied by a similarly fundamental change in social relationships.
In its latest energy strategy, adopted at the beginning of 2020, North Macedonia projects complete coal and lignite phase out latest by 2040. The country has been praised as the first country from the Western Balkans to set such ambitious goals. In spite of its determination to move towards a green future in line with its EU accession process, the country continues struggling with air pollution, waste management issues, and inefficient energy market liberalization. The aim of the policy brief is to address these issues through an analysis of recent developments in energy transition of the country.
In addition, the brief offers solutions through democratization of the process of energy transition and reviews and maps out the potential for citizen energy.
The purpose of this study, divided in two main parts, is to first present an overview of the current energy policies and the progress of North Macedonia towards achieving the aims in the frame of its energy strategy; and secondly, to map out the local initiatives that have the potential of creating their own local energy communities. To map out the potential for creating sustainable energy communities, the study will in its first part provide an overview of the factors affecting the energy sector, the potential for renewable energy production and related policies.