Consumer (Co-)Ownership in Renewables in the Netherlands

  • Sanne AkerboomEmail author
  • Felicia van Tulder


In 2017 over 500 projects were counted in the Netherlands, aiming at creating a joint ownership structure for local renewable energy utilities; the number of energy cooperatives has substantially increased. There is not only potential for consumer activism and (co-)ownership, there is also societal momentum. Although these developments have not escaped political attention and distributed energy was emphasized in the Energy Agreement, a wide legal operationalization has not yet taken place. There is, however, one exception: the Decree of 2014 concerning “Experimental de-central sustainable energy production” which defined experimental energy projects, aimed at the production and self-supply of energy for a period of 10 years. With respect to onshore wind energy, a soft-legal instrument outlines that onshore wind farms should be open to financial and non-financial participation of residents. Furthermore, consumer (co-)ownership received explicit recognition of its crucial role in the 2018 recast of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) as part of the Clean Energy Package. Most collective RE projects are cooperatives; others opt for a foundation or a limited liability company. Many of the cooperatives that have emerged in the Netherlands aim at the collective purchasing of solar panels, with 14 MWp installed capacity of solar panels realized in 2016. It is estimated that 3 per cent of wind turbines on land were cooperatively owned in 2016. The role of municipalities in RE generation and supply is one of facilitation and collaboration. Many collective RE projects are sited on communal property such as schools or libraries. Local authorities also provide advice and support in the planning phase of collective projects.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Faculty of Law, Economics and GovernanceUniversity UtrechtUtrechtNetherlands
  2. 2.Kelso ProfessorshipEuropean University ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany

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