Empowered women across Mediterranean Europe come together to lift themselves out of energy poverty

Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya recognised for her work in alleviating energy poverty in coastal Mediterranean areas announced as a finalist in the upcoming EU Sustainable Energy Awards.

[More about the EUSEW Awards]

There will not be a just energy transition if people affected by energy poverty are not at the centre of the discussion,” exclaims Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya of the Catalan Association of Engineering Without Borders (ESF).

Together with eight other project partners, Mὸnica and the ESF team are supporting women-led households in overcoming energy poverty through the EmpowerMed project. By 2023, up to 10,000 citizens in coastal Mediterranean countries will be empowered to tackle energy poverty in their communities through the support of Mὸnica and the EmpowerMed team.

“Women and women-led households are disproportionately affected by energy poverty, yet women are strong actors in tackling energy poverty,” says Mὸnica. “We organise collective advisory assemblies to offer not only the tools needed to address energy poverty but also provide a network for these women to take action together.” 

Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme, EmpowerMed is active in six pilot areas. The work that Mὸnica and the project team are doing in these areas seeks to not only alleviate energy poverty for the members of the collective, but also contribute to policy change and set a model for other regions worldwide. 

“The network model and tools that we have created in EmpowerMed can be replicated in other countries and contexts, contributing to increased secure access to energy for all, but also energy savings and adequate consumption adapted to the climate and social circumstances we are living in,” says Mὸnica.

Particularly the methodology (and tool) of collective advisory assemblies on energy poverty comes from the knowledge gathered by the Alliance against Energy Poverty, a Catalan grassroots movement for the right to energy, led by women.

Over a four-year period, EmpowerMed is working in seven countries with 4,200 households. Through EUR 160,000 of investments in sustainable energy within the project they anticipate EUR 780,000 of savings to be realised, corresponding to a reduction of 1,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. 

“Together, the members of the collectives are very strong and the impact on their self-esteem and independence is fortified through the network,” says Mὸnica. “We promote practical solutions that can be implemented, but it is also important that we advocate for policy solutions at all levels and equip those affected to lead the change.” 

A just energy transition is a key pillar of the EU Green Deal and the work of Mὸnica and her team is contributing to the EU’s 2030 goals

Women paving the way for a sustainable energy future

Mὸnica Guiteras Blaya is one of three finalists shortlisted for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards 2021 in the Woman in Energy category. The award recognises outstanding activities led by women that, if replicated, help to advance the clean energy transition in Europe and contribute to the European energy and climate targets. The two other contenders in the category are Dr. Karolina Lipińska and Birgit Hansen. 

Karolina is an innovation architect and the initiator of the Pomeranian Platform for the Development of Offshore Wind Energy in the Baltic Sea. Birgit is the mayor of Frederikshavn (Denmark) and is recognised for her role in the city’s ambitious climate plan.

EU Sustainable Energy Awards recognise champions of 2030 climate and energy targets

Twelve outstanding individuals and projects are highlighted at the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) 2021 for their innovation in energy efficiency and renewables. Finalists were chosen from a list of the year’s most successful projects for clean, secure and efficient energy. The awards have four categories - Engagement, Innovation, Woman in Energy and Young Energy Trailblazer – as well as the Citizen’s Award, which will be received by one of the projects in the first two categories. Prizes will be awarded by an expert jury (for Engagement and Innovation), and by citizens via a public vote, which is now open until 22 October. The five winners will be announced on Monday 25 October during EUSEW 2021. 

EUSEW 2021

EUSEW 2021 runs from 25 to 29 October 2021, under the theme ‘Towards 2030: Reshaping the European Energy System’. Taking place ahead of the decisive COP 26, the event brings together energy policy experts, industry leaders, academia and civil society representatives to discuss how forward-looking policies for decarbonisation, energy efficiency, climate mitigation, and many others comprising the European Green Deal, can help rebuild a better and more resilient society and economy.

EUSEW 2021 is held as an online event once again, with more opportunities than ever to connect, engage, network and reflect on the biggest issues in clean energy in Europe and beyond.

Registrations for participants and for media are now open

For interview requests with the EUSEW 2021 Award finalists or additional media information, please contact [email protected] 



The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is the biggest event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe. The 16th edition of EUSEW will take place online on 25-29 October 2021 under the theme: ‘Towards 2030: Reshaping the European Energy System’. The Week consists of a 3-day digital policy conference, the EU Sustainable Energy Awards Ceremony, the Debate with Ambassadors, the second European Youth Energy Day, as well as 1:1 video meetings, virtual stands, and other networking activities. Participants will also have access to an extended programme and digital sustainable energy events, known as Sustainable Energy Days, which will take place all over Europe throughout the months of September and October 2021.

Launched in 2006 by the European Commission, EUSEW was organised by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) until 31 March 2021, and as of 1 April 2021 is organised by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), in close cooperation with the Directorate-General for Energy.