End of the SUITE project... and next steps!
The SUITE (scaling up innovation together for energy vulnerability) follow up project of the European Horizon2020 ASSIST project has officially ended. AISFOR participated in partnership with Ecoserveis (as coordinator), Cluster de l'energia eficient de Catalunya and Climate Alliance together with the collaboration of Climate Alliance Hungary, Polish National Energy Conservation Agency (KAPE), and the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD)/ Babes-Bolyai University,.
SUITE is one of the winners of the Social Catalyst Fund's call for proposals to support the consolidation of innovative models on social innovation issues. In particular the project aims to outline plans to scale up the ASSIST model in five countries: Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.
As it is evident, SUITE takes its first steps from the results of the ASSIST project, and from the acknowledgment that energy poverty is an issue to be tackled with appropriate and effective actions at different levels of governance, going beyond the welfare support and implementing instead long lasting empowerment strategies, specifically designed for vulnerable consumers; at the same time actions are needed to stimulate cultural awareness and public debate.
The ASSIST social innovation model is based on a holistic and local approach, training social and non-social workers already active on the territory allowing them to acquire the qualification of Household Energy Advisor (HEA). The trained HEAs will then carry out their actions of identifying and supporting citizens who are vulnerable or already in situations of energy poverty.
Through the project, plans have been defined for each of the 5 countries, considering the different needs and the different social and political contexts:
- Hungary - Nationally scalability plan that foresees the involvement of both public and private actors in the implementation of the HEA network, which is an important achievement since the issue of energy poverty has only recently appeared in the public debate.
- Italy - Nationally scalable plan built on two pillars involving both public and private actors.
- Spain - Regionally scalability plan, in Catalonia and more specifically in the Barcelona region. The Spanish scalability model consists of the creation of an energy advice and support office for people using SAD (home care services) and telecare in the Barcelona region.
- Poland - Regionally scalable plan based essentially on financial and non-financial support from the Ma?opolska Region for the training and networking of public operators. This project is one of the first initiatives specifically aimed at combating energy poverty in the country.
- Romania - Scalable plan at municipal level, in particular the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Energy Efficiency of the city of Cluj-Napoca will be the implementers of the plan by training operators within the departments and supporting their action within the municipality.
In addition to the national models, the SUITE project also worked on the creation of a European network, bringing together under one umbrella the national models and other similar initiatives already developed in other European contexts. The network will oversee creating opportunities for contact and knowledge sharing, will support the participation of national networks in European projects and will bring to European level the shared instances and needs identified at local level.
In Italy, the scaling-up model will be based on two interrelated pillars:
- Actions addressed to municipalities and PAs intending to introduce actions against Energy Poverty. On this front, the Focus Groups we are carrying out together with Climate Alliance Italia and Agenda 21 are giving excellent results to create the most appropriate and functional model through a process of direct involvement of mayors and municipal authorities.
- Actions aimed at private bodies and the third sector. In this regard, a series of meetings have been launched to discuss the many aspects of energy poverty and to take concrete action together.
Many other meetings will be scheduled in the coming months - stay tuned on our social channels for dates and topics or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting to be included in the mailing list for activities on energy poverty.