The energy transition has been a prominent topic over the last few years in Europe and renewable energy cooperatives have started spreading in a number of European countries. A working group on energy and environment at Cooperatives Europe was set up in 2011, in order to develop an overall strategy and positioning for Cooperatives Europe and implement concrete actions over time.
Two visibility events were organised in 2012 to promote the role of cooperatives in renewable energies, which opened the doors for partnerships and for starting targeted advocacy at EU level. At the same time, Cooperatives Europe is part of an EU project on renewable energy cooperatives together with cooperatives from across Europe to promote and develop them.
The working group
The working group meets four times a year. It is a combination of sector organizations and individual cooperatives involved in the energy sector. All share the same passion for bringing the cooperative model to this evolving sector. Current members include Eurocoop, Cecodhas Housing Europe, The Cooperative Group, Cooperatives UK, The Cooperative Energy, Legacoop, Kooperationen, SOK and DGRV.
The key objective of the working group is to promote cooperatives in the European energy debate and support a decentralised energy strategy in the EU. We are also seeking to strengthen visibility at EU level as credible actor in the energy and environment domain and develop a European cooperative energy advocacy strategy. Finally, we seek to foster cooperation through joint actions and targeted cooperative networks.
In 2012 the energy working group hosted two high profile events, both titled 'Power to the People'. the first was th the EU sustainable energy week. the second was at Cooperatives United in Manchester. You can find more details on our website.
The aim in 2013 is to build on this visibility and share more about the potential of the cooperative model in energy with the EU institutions. We also work closely with REScoop.EU, a project which is seeking to identify all the renewable energy projects in Europe and promote cooperative ownership of renewable energy as the enxt step forward in the energy transition.
We are looking at the possibilities of establishing a European network of organisations committed to promoting cooperative and community energy, whilst also develop a cooperative energy manifesto with clear targets for policy makers.
If you are intersted in further details of the energy working group, please contact Klaus Niederländer, Director of Cooperatives Europe.