The interplay between energy poverty and energy security within the energy trilemma

A plea for more integrative approaches

This research paper draws on the framework of the energy trilemma (security, poverty and sustainability) to explore both the conceptual kinship and the practical implications of the relationship between energy security and energy poverty. Given the fragile equilibrium between the three mentioned policy goals, the paper aims to provide some insights to better understand their interplay.The main contribution resides in stressing the interdependence between and co-evolution of energy security and energy poverty, and why successful policy efforts should have an integrative approach, rather than “one at a time” mindset.

The first two sections of this paper review the existing literature on energy poverty and energy security, respectively. The subsequent section aims to bridge the gap in the academic literature by highlighting how the two notions correspond to a micro and a macro dimension of a similar challenge, namely energy welfare, thus calling for concerted action on both levels; it also analyses their interplay from an energy transition and climate change perspective, as well as from a consumer welfare standpoint. The final section explores Romania’s positioning along the security-poverty axis and the country’s recent developments as part of a wider and similar geopolitical context.

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