Enhancing Energy Sufficiency

Marie-Laure Falque-Masset (Vice-President for Energy Sufficiency) writes about the rising interest in energy sufficiency in Europe.

Enhancing Energy Sufficiency

by Marie-Laure Falque-Masset, FEDARENE Vice-President for Energy Sufficiency.

Energy sufficiency is an approach that aims to reduce energy consumption through changes in behaviour, lifestyle, and collective organisation (i.e. less car use, more local and better quality food, etc.). Energy sufficiency is therefore defined by what is a matter of lifestyle choices and thus behavioural choices, differentiating from energy efficiency which concerns the use of technologies that reduce energy consumption at the scale of a given object or system.

This has consequences on the energy transition, as we have realised at AREC IDF. Indeed, Energy sufficiency can be seen as the first pillar of the transition besides energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources. Moreover, energy sufficiency is at the core of public policies dealing with mitigation and adaptation which will support the world climate objectives.

The word now exists in several languages, such as “sobriété énergétique” in French and “Energie Suffizienz” in German. The launch in 2018 of an international expert network on sufficiency (ENOUGH), and the website are two illustrations of the increasing interest in the topic.

In FEDARENE, sufficiency was highlighted by the organisation of three webinars organised in 2020 and 2021 and through the creation of a dedicated working group. These have allowed us to share FEDARENE’s members’ expertise on the topic and to develop new skills within the network.

Many sufficiency solutions exist to consume less and better, and several solutions have been implemented by FEDARENE members in the framework of local or European projects.

Among shining examples, Swedish members promote energy sufficiency in mobility: eco-driving training, citizen challenges, and equitable access to transport. The COBIUM project in particular aimed to develop a range of electric cargo bikes made available free of charge by municipalities to citizens, city services, and goods deliveries.

In the Energy Neighbourhood European project, B&SU (Germany) has set up house-to-house challenges to encourage people to reduce their energy needs through competition between households.

All over Europe, members are encouraging local authorities, economic stakeholders and citizens by the means of educational tools, capacity building, and project development to teach and implement sufficiency.

This editorial was first published in our annual brochure “Sustainable Regions in Action 2022”.