Combating Energy Poverty in Mountainous Areas Through Energy-saving Interventions
An increasing number of people find it difficult or even impossible to ensure adequate coverage of their energy needs. This situation, defined as energy poverty, is one of the results of the global energy crisis. Mountainous areas are especially vulnerable to energy poverty because their thermal energy needs are especially high and their economic environment is not a particularly prosperous one. We studied ways of reducing conventional fuel use and thus restricting the risk of energy poverty in Metsovo, a Greek mountain town. Given the special characteristics of energy consumption in the area and its energy potential, several alternative scenarios for saving energy in the town of Metsovo were constructed. The economic performance of the alternatives and their contribution to combating energy poverty were assessed. It was shown that utilizing locally produced biomass and applying energy-saving measures can bring households below the “energy poverty limit.” Moreover, dependence on diesel oil and electricity for heating purposes can be reduced to a very low level by applying financially viable energy practices. The case of Metsovo shows that the establishment of an appropriate framework of sustainable energy policy in mountainous areas can bring about significant environmental, social, and financial benefits. The general objectives of the energy strategy of the European Union, as well as its efforts to combat energy poverty, can be significantly supported by the rich renewable energy potential of its mountainous areas, which is well illustrated by the example of Metsovo.