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Scaling-up the involvement of women in supporting and accelerating market uptake of renewable energy sources for heating and cooling

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - W4RES (Scaling-up the involvement of women in supporting and accelerating market uptake of renewable energy sources for heating and cooling)

Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2022-04-30

Despite of the heating and cooling market accounting for over 50% of the EU’s energy demand and being largely fossil-fuelled, progress in the deployment of renewable energy technologies in this market has been lagging behind for years now. This poses both a pressing need and an opportunity to support the uptake of renewable heating and cooling with a view to contributing towards our climate and energy targets, all while boosting economic growth, maintaining industrial leadership, creating jobs and delivering social and environmental benefits to EU citizens.
In spite of their catalytic potential in supporting the uptake of renewable energy, women are still underrepresented across the renewable energy sector: more men than women are working in the sector; women are a minority in energy policy-making and decision-making bodies in the EU and its member states. All in all, it appears that the EU is not utilising to the full a much promising lever that can not only facilitate the uptake of renewable energy in heating and cooling, but also address the persisting gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated energy sector, fostering a socially inclusive clean energy transition that can bring equal benefits for all EU citizens.
Women hold great potential as agents of change, driving the clean energy transition and getting us closer to meeting the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2030. In this context, W4RES taps into this potential to support the uptake of renewable energy in heating and cooling (RHC), a market that urgently needs to shift more to RES.
The work performed so far under the framework of W4RES began with a deep dive into framework conditions and regional specificities of 8 diverse yet representative markets in Europe (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, and Slovakia), assessing enablers and barriers to RHC uptake. Building on gender-disaggregated insights from market actors and stakeholders as well as successful cases of women leading RHC projects, we have developed a suite of flexible and cost-effective support (Business, Technical, Capacity Building, Raising Awareness) measures with high reapplication potential, which we are currently deploying to cut down project development timings and efforts as well as to sidestep legal, institutional and financial challenges, setting in motion feasible and sustainable business models fit to market. In parallel, we are conducting raising awareness campaigns to foster demand for RHC whilst boost female involvement in the RHC sector. The deployment of the measures will occur in two rounds through the support of our Regional Hubs established in the 8 target countries to ensure multi-stakeholder engagement. Concurrently, we have established a digital focal point, the W4RES Observatory, to aggregate meaningful intelligence and tools in one place, supporting their dissemination and fostering their use for scaling-up the involvement of women in RHC, while offering a digital hub for community engagement, open innovation and international cooperation for more gender-responsive RHC solutions and enabling framework conditions.
Along the way, a gender-responsive monitoring and evaluation framework will gauge the performance and impact of our measures, providing us with the intel required to turn them from solutions fit for a set of local challenges to integrated solutions that can address diverse policy and market needs across Europe. W4RES will use this intel as a catalyst to foster co-creation, mutual learning and international cooperation for frameworks more conducive to RHC uptake at local, regional national and EU level, based on cost-effective support schemes and lower financing costs for RHC facilities
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