Resource efficient Europe
How co-operatives help:
- Co-operative enterprises are active both on the side of the demand (purchase) and on the side of the supply (production and/or distribution) of energy;
- Co-operatives empower people in a market dominated by few big players and where consumers are seen as passive actors;
- Examples of renewable energy co-operatives show that they are compatible with business profitability and sustainability, active participation of citizens and energy efficiency;
- Co-operatives contribute to a Sustainable Production and Consumption all along the supply chains.
How European institutions can help us:
- In order to promote sustainable development and reduce energy import dependency, a decentralized energy production and distribution model needs to be put in place. European programmes could therefore take the potential of businesses other than big multinational companies into account, such as SMEs and co-operatives; easy access to smaller companies in EU programmes and contract could be ensured.
- The energy grid of the 21st century could be a smart grid connecting local and regional producers. It is important to ensure energy supply and this can be achieved by decentralizing its production and promoting local and small-scale energy production easily integrated into the grid.
- Co-operatives in the energy sector need to be encouraged as a means to empower energy consumers. As they are owned and managed by their members, co-operatives enjoy a privileged two-way communication channels with citizens: on the one hand they give a voice to member’s needs; on the other hand they can influence their consumption behaviour.
- Final energy-users will not automatically become informed with the introduction of smart meters: they will need assistance and advice not only during the implementation of smart meters but also afterwards. Smart meters must be rolled out having consumer interests in mind and combined with neutral advice and effective energy saving measures, which co-operatives – because of their very nature – can grant.