REScoop has produced some unique tools to expand the European REScoop movement. Our tools provide conceptional frameworks and are well designed to help starting community power initiatives. Starters can get inspired by our European best practices and learn how to choose their own business model. They can also find out how to engage and manage stakeholders or how to finance renewable energy projects. Starters with specific questions can always contact our mentors.
Learn from Best Practices
Renewable energy cooperatives are groups of citizens that organise themselves to collectively take action on renewable energy or energy efficiency. A closer look at existing REScoops reveals that they are diverse in terms of ownership, governance, organisational structure, scale of activities, type of activities, energy sources used, financing mix, etc. They are most commonly distinguished from one another based on their size, projects and activities.
Some REScoops are relatively small. They have fewer members and pursue only small-scale renewable energy projects (typically solar panels). Other REScoops have many members but have yet to fully launch their first project. There are also very large REScoops. Ecopower (Belgium) for instance has almost 50,000 members, and owns 17 wind turbines, 3 hydro power installations, 320 solar panels and 1 cogeneration installation using rape seed oil. Experience shows that it gets easier to convince members once you have your first project up and running, or when members are given the opportunity to use the energy generated.
REScoops typically invest in projects that generate energy from local renewable energy sources. Some REScoops only invest in wind turbines (Wind Coops) while others restrict their investment to solar panels (Solar Coops). Many REScoops, however, pursue a combination of these, and rely on various renewable energy sources to produce energy. After all, energy is still needed when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Bronsgroen (Belgium) has invested in wind, solar and biomass projects in order to improve its energy mix. Some REScoops restrict their investments to renewable energy, but many also deal with the issue of energy efficiency. Courant d'Air (Belgium) for example is using part of its revenues to finance energy efficiency measures in public buildings.
Most REScoops produce renewable energy. Some only finance these projects while others develop them from scratch. There are also REScoops that handle their further operation. Some REScoops also supply renewable energy to their members. Enercoop (France) for example is the only renewable energy supplier in France. There are also REScoops that handle their own balancing activities, while others even run their own distribution grid. EWS (Germany) for instance owns the distribution grid and is helping others to follow that example. Finally, some REScoops help their members and local authorities take energy efficiency measures in their homes or in public buildings.
Choose your Business Model
Before setting up a REScoop, starters must develop a proper business model. We wrote a report describing six potential REScoop business models based on our experience.
Finance your projects
While there are various ways to finance renewable energy projects, some investment schemes are particularly interesting for renewable energy cooperatives. These schemes are well explained in our financial handbook. In another report, we identify the main financial barriers for starters and offer some effective solutions to overcome these.
Manage your Stakeholders
REScoops have a clear concern for the community, and take into account the interests of a wide range of stakeholders. They face the challenge of engaging citizens and other stakeholders in creating the organisation and in other development processes. Our action guide has been developed to facilitate the development of REScoops and, more particularly, to implement and maintain the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders in these organisational processes.
REScoop Guide for Stakeholder Management
Contact our Mentors
Don't waste time struggling with problems that someone else has already solved. REScoop.eu contains a wide network of mentors, people who have built up specific expertise in the field of renewable energy or energy efficiency. Our well-trained mentors are happy to help starters like yourself.
Mentors work for free but – since they are busy people – it's important to approach them with specific questions. In the end, it's you who will have to take action in your local community. Send us your questions and we would be happy to put you in contact with one of our mentors.
Downloads for starters
Overview of interesting documents for starting cooperatives