Specification of the socioeconomic dimensions of energy demand and consumption in Greece using Geographical Information Systems

Γεώργιος Παναγιωτόπουλος, Νικόλας Κατσουλάκος


In a period of intense economic crisis, one of the main problems, faced by the Greek society is the sufficient cover of energy needs. Due to the austerity measures, tax raises have led to a great increase in fuel prices. This factor, combined with income reduction, has led many households to lower energy consumption, even at very low levels that do not ensure comfort conditions in the residences. In many cases unsafe fuels are used for heating purposes and this leads to negative environmental impacts and health problems, even deaths due to poisonous gases emissions. Therefore, the Greek society is exposed to the problem of energy poverty and policy interventions are necessary, in order to avoid the serious social consequences of this situation. For the time being, the Greek Government has applied some basic measures, which could help towards energy poverty alleviation. Households can purchase heating oil at lower prices through a subsidy policy that has been implemented since 2011. Moreover, energy efficiency interventions are promoted by giving financial motives to house - owners. The influence of these measures on alleviating energy poverty is not sufficient though. This can be attributed to inadequacies in designing such policies. This paper aims at clarifying the "energy landscape" in Greece, which is an important prerequisite for designing effectively energy policy measures. Energy demand and consumption, as well as the corresponding cost of Greek residences have been estimated by combining meteorological data and technical data of residences. Thereby, the dimensions of energy poverty can be estimated. In order to better locate the inadequacies of energy policy measures and to suggest improvements, a spatial dimension is particularly necessary. Hence, Geographical Information Systems have been utilized, in order to understand the spatial patterns of energy demand, consumption and costs in Greece. Energy costs seem to be particularly increased in mountainous Greece, due to the harsh climate and the, usually, old building stock found in these areas. Such findings could help towards redesigning subsidy policy e.g. for heating oil, in order to help local societies overcome high energy costs. For instance, in the mountainous town of Vitina in Peloponnese, a typical household is subsidized only for half of the actual heating oil consumption. Utilizing the findings of the present paper, such inadequacies in energy planning can be determined and this can lead to better solutions for overcoming energy poverty and improving development perspectives.

Λέξεις κλειδιά

10ο Διεθνές Γεωγραφικό Συνέδριο; 10th International Geographical Congress; degree-days; energy demand and consumption; energy costs; energy poverty; energy policy; Greece

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