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Energy poverty, crisis and austerity in Spain


Despite clear indications about its significance, a systematic examination of the connection between the European debt crisis and domestic energy affordability trends is still missing in the academic and policy literature. This paper seeks to provide an empirically-grounded investigation of crisis and austerity as macro-scale driving factors of energy poverty, taking Spain as a case study. For this, a range of data and indicators are presented for the period 2004-2012. They provide evidence of the increase in domestic energy deprivation levels in Spain since 2008 that occurred in parallel with a rapid surge in unemployment rates and domestic energy prices, especially of electricity. Collected evidence also indicates substantial differences in energy poverty levels across Spanish regions (Autonomous Communities) linked to disparities in climatic and socio-economic conditions, including unemployment. Resulting energy poverty levels are understood as a consequence of structural and short-term factors operating along pre-existing socio-spatial cleavages exacerbated by the crisis.