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MEF 2022: Socially just and democratic energy transition as a way of mitigating the energy crisis
In the past few months all over the world industries and households have experienced an increase in energy prices. The destabilized energy markets meant that some energy utilities went bankrupt, while many new energy consumers are put at risk of energy poverty. The Western Balkan countries are anticipating an increase in energy prices endangering the livelihood of many citizens already at the risk of material deprivation.
Fossil fuels will be an energy source of the past, but at what cost in the short run? The decarbonization process should not be only a technical process of closing coal plants and building photovoltaic ones, but a socially just and incisive democratization process. This requires opening up the energy transition process to the citizens by allowing participation mechanisms, such as energy cooperatives, subsidies for natural persons, and challenging the outdated monopoly structure of the energy systems.
The low-carbon transition should allow for the voice of all to be heard. The Ombudspersons can safeguard the consumer and human rights of citizens being affected by energy prices increases. There should be a support scheme directed towards vulnerable consumers so that they have control over their energy consumption. These processes require a take up of energy democracy and demand for good governance by all institutions involved. The increase of energy prices has steered protests and discussions among academia and civil society on how to guarantee the right to energy to citizens.
The aim of MEF 2022 is to focus on mitigating the ongoing energy crisis through a socially just and democratic energy transition. The Forum will lay out the process towards the energy transition in the Western Balkan countries to date, and report on measures to deal with the ongoing energy crisis. The proposed panels could focus on systematic measures to democratize the energy transition process and extend the understanding of a socially just transition. The latter should not be only making sure the closing of coal power plants does not make the workers in the sector redundant, but that the benefits of the energy transition are not shared only by a few companies, but by all energy citizens, including the vulnerable. Vulnerable citizens should be empowered to access modern energy technologies and voice out energy injustices.
MEF 2022 will also discuss the ongoing measures against the energy crisis and the threat of increasing energy prices. Would there be restrictions to energy in the public domain? How much will the energy price increase affect citizens? Will this increase citizens’ dependence on fuelwood as a way of mitigating the increasing electricity costs? There is unlikely a fast fixing to this challenge. However, the well-being of energy citizens should prevail in the attempts to deal with the energy crisis. When can citizens become prosumers using photovoltaics, thus have control over their energy consumption and even sell the excess energy to the transmission operator? How can the energy market be stimulated to increase the number of energy suppliers? What can be done to protect citizens from electricity disconnections during the energy and pandemic crises? The Forum will discuss these topics with a diverse group of experts and stakeholders from the region and beyond.

+ 1000 Participants

+300 Companies

+50 International and Domestic Panelists

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Skopje, 1000
Republic of North Macedonia

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