Civic energy self-defence in the shadow of the war in Ukraine: grassroots energy activities in V4

The project conducts research on ‘energy self-defence’ in each of the V4 countries. It will be carried out with prosumers (consumers of energy that also produce it), heat pump users and people who fell into energy poverty after 2022. The aim is to identify the barriers and opportunities for bottom-up energy innovation, thus providing important policy outcomes and recommendations for policy-makers.

The war in Ukraine triggers a number of different psychological, social and economic reactions in societies. In the socio-economic aspect, the armed conflict in Ukraine evokes a sense of financial and social threat in a large number of European societies. Among the main reasons for unrest in the economic area is the concern about energy security and the provision of heat in buildings. The project is a direct response to the challenges of the sense of threat to energy security caused by the war in Ukraine in the societies of the V4 countries. The interruption of the supplies of gas, oil and other raw materials from Russia not only forced governments to adjust their energy policies to the new conditions but also forced citizens to change their social behaviour and strategy. This has given rise to grassroots social activities that we call ‘energy self-defence’, which is the main subject of this project.

The problem raised in the project is therefore complex: providing citizens with access to ‘clean energy’, showing social obstacles to access to energy and heat, unequal distribution of energy, and finally combining a fair energy transition with energy security, innovation and decentralisation of energy systems at the civic level. The war in Ukraine has shown that centralised, large power plants require high-voltage grids that can be interrupted by military actions and that large power plants are also easily attacked in military conflicts. On the other hand, decentralised energy systems based on renewable sources protect the climate, the pockets of citizens and households.

  • Provider: International Visegrad Fund
  • Project title: Civic energy self-defence in the shadow of the war in Ukraine: grassroots energy activities in V4
  • Registration number: 22320072
  • Implementation period: 1. 10. 2023 - 31. 10. 2024
  • Applicant: Univerzita Komenského v Bratislave/Comenius University in Bratislava
  • Project partners:  
    • Ústav mezinárodních vztahů Praha, v.v.i. (Institute of International Relations Prague, v.v.i.), Czech Republic
    • Centrum Praw Obywatelskich i Badań nad Demokracją (The Centre for Civil Rights and Democracy Research, Poland)
    • Közgazdaság- és Regionális Tudományi Kutatóközpont, Világgazdasági Intézet (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Institute of World Economics), Hungary
  • Research team (IIR): Lukáš Tichý