Energy Cooperatives

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Simon Luyts:

"Energy cooperatives, also called REScoops (Renewable Energy Sources Cooperatives), are characterized by their cooperative business model. Sharing the cooperative values, it means that citizens are involved in both the decision making and financial & economical participation. A renewable energy cooperative’s main characteristic is not its legal statute, but rather a way of doing business by creating value to the community. A cooperative is defined as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically- controlled enterprise”, (UN, 2012) and is characterized by the 7 ICA-principles (Coopkracht), formed by the International Cooperative Alliance. It is their guide to ethical entrepreneurship." (see Collaboration between Local Authorities and Renewable Energy Cooperatives)


""First, the self-supply of energy and the opportunity to generate extra revenue (after an initial investment) allows marginalized social groups to strengthen their economic autonomy vis-a-vis the government and energy suppliers. In addition, the organization as energy communities with joint economic resources strengthens their position on the market and thus creates greater equality in terms of economic power, thus attenuating the feeling of powerlessness vis-à-vis the big energy companies. This obviates the need to confront elites, and allows the diversion of energy into more politically and economically effective activities.

Secondly, energy cooperatives can recreate group identities and communities. Communities, as Bauman says, is a word with a certain feel, conjuring up a feeling of warmth, belonging and comfort, in other words, something positive. By adhering to certain group norms and actively engaging in community business (jointly investing into installations, participating in members' assemblies, recruiting new members, and more), members benefit not only from the protection of joint resources but also from the development of trust and social cohesion.

Thirdly, the internal procedures of energy cooperatives are often strongly democratic, at times developing novel forms of participation. This is important because it provides members of the cooperative an example of the challenges and benefits of democratic procedures, not to mention a realization of empowerment." (


Member-owned energy supplier in Vermont.
Offers practical solutions for bringing top-quality fuel products to market.
Aims to deliver renewable energy to Greater Manchester in the United Kingdom.
"twelve organisations in seven European countries (Belgium, Denmark, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands) having joined our forces in REScoop 20-20-20. Coming from various backgrounds (renewable energy cooperatives, federations of REScoops and coops, local energy agencies, academic partners, and sustainability agencies), we all share a work experience related to renewable energy sources and cooperatives, and a tenacious desire to speed up local and citizen-led renewable energy projects across Europe."

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