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Renewable Energy Cooperatives

  • Jens LowitzschEmail author
  • Florian Hanke
Chapter

Abstract

The realisation of the Energy Transition and the compliance of climate and sustainability goals are among the greatest political challenges in Europe inseparably connected with a shift towards a decentralised renewable energy (RE) supply. The question is no longer whether this process is to be continued but how this transition can be facilitated. In this context RE cooperatives have gained importance as the collective organisation of a common objective in the form of a cooperative is based on particular benefits for all stakeholders and hence a cooperative surplus. Optimistic assessments surmise that by 2050 half of the EU population could be producing its own energy from RES and that collective projects, such as RE cooperatives, could contribute 37 per cent of the electricity produced by “energy citizens”. There are currently about 3500 RE cooperatives, mainly in Western European countries, of which 1500 and their one million members are represented by the European federation of RE cooperatives, REScoop.eu (REScoop.eu 2018b, 2018c; Huybrechts et al. 2018) and registered as a Renewable Energy Sources Cooperative (REScoop). Thereby RE cooperatives have the potential to not only become a successful model for consumer ownership in RE projects all over Europe but substantially contribute to the success of the energy transition as such. This chapter introduces the concept of RE cooperatives, discusses its advantages and disadvantages as a business model and investigates their potential as well as the obstacles to further development in the context of the Energy Transition. This analysis draws on examples from the countries under consideration as well as on information provided by REScoop.eu.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European University ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany
  2. 2.Kelso ProfessorshipEuropean University ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany

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