Renewable energy cooperatives are community-based organizations that enable people to collectively invest in renewable energy projects, such as wind or solar power, and share in the benefits of clean energy production. The role of these cooperatives is to empower individuals and communities to take control of their energy production and consumption, reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, and promote sustainable development. By pooling resources and expertise, renewable energy cooperatives can also increase the deployment of renewable energy technologies and help to tackle climate change. In addition, they can provide economic benefits to local communities by creating jobs and supporting local businesses.
Members of the cooperative contribute funds, which are used to purchase and maintain renewable energy infrastructure, such as wind turbines or solar panels. The electricity generated is then sold to the local grid or directly to customers, with profits distributed among the cooperative’s members. These cooperatives provide economic benefits to communities, promote sustainable development, and increase access to renewable energy sources. Additionally, they empower individuals to take control of their energy consumption and contribute to the fight against climate change.
There are many renewable energy cooperatives around the world, but some of the most notable ones include:
- The Danish Wind Turbine Owners’ Association, which is the world’s oldest and largest wind energy cooperative.
- The BayWa r.e. renewable energy cooperative in Germany, which operates solar, wind, and biomass projects across Europe.
- The Co-operative Energy in the UK, which is a community-owned energy supplier that invests in renewable energy projects.
- The Clean Energy Collective in the United States, which develops and operates community solar projects.
- The Enercoop cooperative in France, which supplies 100% renewable electricity to its members.
These cooperatives provide a range of benefits, including lower energy costs, local economic development, and increased access to renewable energy for communities.