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EnergyPROSPECTS EnergyPROSPECTS: Key Insights from the European Survey on Energy Transition

In a landmark effort to understand the European public’s stance on the energy transition, EnergyPROSPECTS has successfully conducted an in-depth online survey of 10,000 individuals across 19 European countries. The survey examined individual engagement in the energy transition, responses to the 2021-2022 energy crisis, energy-saving measures and motivations. The survey also sought to determine the expectations of citizens in relation to sustainable energy practices. 

The survey findings suggest that most European citizens believe that their role in the energy transition is limited to their private lives, or in other words to actions concerning their households and/or daily routines. Only one quarter of the respondents consider energy citizenship as related to public action(s). The main motivations for energy-related actions is the desire to reduce energy costs. Environmental concerns are also important motivations for many people.

Overall, the survey participants view the near future in pessimistic terms. 57% of those surveyed expect that in 2030 they will pay more for energy but only 14% think that the process of energy transition is on the right track. Moreover, the survey participants delivered a firm critique of institutions and organisations involved in the energy transition. When questioned on the contributing role of the EU Parliament, the European Commission, national and local authorities, energy providers, and even actors from industry and business, the participants were steadfast in their criticism.

However, the participants felt strongly that all members of society should do whatever they can to support the energy transition. Positively, more than 60% of respondents reported that they decreased their energy consumption in recent years.

When asked what can be done to encourage and support the involvement of European citizens in the energy transition, the survey participants signalled that energy citizenship should be encouraged with tailored financial support measures. These measures should be easily accessible through simplified administrative procedures. The survey also found that special support should be forthcoming for people living in energy poverty. Also signalled as crucial is education to mitigate any concerns about the perceived impacts, benefits and costs of energy transition. Next, the participants noted that legislative developments are required to determine the legal status of individual and collective producers of energy from renewable sources, peer-to-peer trading and energy sharing. Finally, the survey found that more needs to be done to include citizens in the design of the policymaking processes. This would empower citizens and ensure an inclusive, just and socially fair energy transition.

The EnergyPROSPECTS team believe these findings will be pivotal in informing policies and strategies that resonate with the public’s aspirations and capacities, thereby expediting Europe’s journey towards a sustainable and inclusive energy landscape.

Detailed results of survey are available here



EnergyPROSPECTS, a collaborative research initiative focused on exploring energy citizenship, engaged with diverse stakeholders over three years to unravel complexities surrounding energy practices in Europe. Grounded in state-of-the-art Social Sciences and Humanities insights, the project aimed to understand energy citizenship as a policy concept, sociotechnical imaginary, and a social construction of civic agency in future energy systems. Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, EnergyPROSPECTS developed a broad understanding of energy citizenship, examining cross-cutting issues and creating a typology based on almost 600 initiatives.

In-depth analysis of 40 cases explored various aspects of energy systems, leading to the development of an empowerment toolkit. The project’s primary objectives included developing a conceptual framework, identifying diverse manifestations of energy citizenship, assessing conditions for active participation, and analyzing outcomes. EnergyPROSPECTS sought to enhance engagement with citizens and practitioners, translating findings into tools and interventions.

The research involved analyzing contextual conditions supporting or hindering energy citizenship, matching suitable models with different contexts, and conducting a citizen survey. Practical policy outputs were derived through knowledge exchange workshops with policy actors. The EnergyPROSPECTS consortium comprised nine partners from Ireland, Belgium, Hungary, Netherlands, Bulgaria, France, Latvia, Germany, and Spain. 

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Marko Hajdinjak