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What is the state of the art in energy and transport poverty metrics? A critical and comprehensive review

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  • Christopher Lowans, Queen's University Belfast
  • ,
  • Dylan Furszyfer Del Rio, Queen's University Belfast, University of Sussex, Khalifa University of Science and Technology
  • ,
  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
  • David Rooney, Queen's University Belfast
  • ,
  • Aoife M. Foley, Queen's University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Complutense University of Madrid

This review investigates the state of the art in metrics used in energy (or fuel) and transport poverty with a view to assessing how these overlapping concepts may be unified in their measurement. Our review contributes to ongoing debates over decarbonisation, a politically sensitive and crucial aspect of the energy transition, and one that could exacerbate patterns of inequality or vulnerability. Up to 125 million people across the European Union experience the effects of energy poverty in their daily lives. A more comprehensive understanding of the breadth and depth of these conditions is therefore paramount. This review assessed 1,134 articles and critically analysed a deeper sample of 93. In terms of the use of metrics, we find that multiple indicators are better than any single metric or composite. We find work remains to be conducted in the transport poverty sphere before energy poverty metrics can be fully unified with those of transport poverty, namely the stipulation of travel standards. Without such standards, our ability to unify the metrics of both fields and potentially alleviate both conditions simultaneously is limited. The difficulties in defining necessary travel necessitate the further use of vulnerability lenses and holistic assessments focused on energy and transport services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105360
JournalEnergy Economics
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Energy, Energy justice, Fuel, Just transition, Metrics, Operationalise, Poverty

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