Energy communities play an important role in the transition towards a 100% renewable and just energy future.
These communities are based upon a business model in which citizens jointly own and democratically control an enterprise that works on the clean energy transition. Energy communities take on environmental, economic, and social challenges while empowering people, boosting local economies, and reinvigorating communities. The potential is there: research shows that by
2050 around 45% of renewable energy production could be in the hands of citizens, about a quarter of which could come through participation in a cooperative.
Across Europe, we find inspiring examples of energy communities taking back control of the system by jointly developing and democratically managing renewable energy projects. This VIEWS takes you on a journey around Europe and highlights some of the inspiring projects that are accelerating the movement towards a cleaner and more democratic system.
Partago, an e-carsharing cooperative in Belgium, offers e-car sharing services because they want to make electrical vehicles accessible and easy for everyone. Photo: REScoop.eu
Westmill Solar Co-operative members celebrate their successful share raise to buy what was (at the time) the world’s largest cooperative-owned solar park. Photo: Westmill Solar Co-operative
Repowering London energy cooperative empowers urban and disadvantaged communities to plan, fund, build and benefit from a low-carbon future through mentoring, training and work experience opportunities. Photo: Joppe Rog
To engage the community, the ‘Hyperion’ project developed ‘Hyperion Cafés’, a voluntary bi-monthly meeting to share skills and knowledge among members to promote collective investments in solar installations. Photo: Electra cooperative
A member of Som Energia voting at their General Assembly 2019. All members of an energy cooperative have equal voting rights, allowing for democratic control by the members. Photo: Som Energia
This 405 kW solar park in Crete is the first project implemented by Minoan Energy Community and produces energy used by the project’s 103 members. Photo: Minoan Energy Community.
The Templederry Community Windfarm, Ireland’s first community-owned windfarm, addressed resistance to the project by involving the local community and making them benefit directly from the green electricity it generates. Photo: Community Energy Ireland
Awel Aman Tawe Co-op manages a 4.7 MW community wind farm, set up in 2015, and works to raise awareness about the role of clean energy in the fight against climate change. Photo: Awel Aman Tawe
The city of Eeklo favors community-based energy procurement and to meet renewables targets has partnered with Ecopower to develop wind and solar projects as well as a large district heating network. Photo: REScoop.eu
The rural Dutch cooperative Lochem Energie installed solar collectors on the local swimming pool to heat the water, helping to reduce the high energy costs of heating. Photo: Lochem Energie
The energy cooperative Urstrom offers its members an e-car sharing service with 8 electric cars at 5 sharing stations as well as cargo bike-sharing. Photo: Urstrom eg
A farmer learns to fix his roof with the guidance of a craftsman as part of the Energie Solidaire program which was developed by the Enercoop cooperative to tackle energy poverty. Photo: Compagnons Bâtisseurs Rhône-Alpes
Inauguration of a community-owned wind turbine in Neer, the Netherlands. Photo: Zuidenwind
Members of Enercoop Midi-Pyrénées celebrate the opening of the Lacombe solar park, built in cooperation with local actors on unused land that was unfit for agriculture. Photo: Enercoop Midi-Pyrénées.
Members of Cooperativa de Energie meet in the mountains to discuss the cooperative’s strategy and potential improvements and co-develop the enterprise’s future. Photo: Cooperativa de Energie
The City of Križevci and the energy cooperative ZEZ have partnered to support the development of solar projects, including a 10-year PV power plant lease agreement. Photo: Zelena energetska zadruga
REScoop.eu, the European federation of citizen energy cooperatives wants to make the voice of citizens heard in the European energy debate. Photo: REScoop.eu