ECCO – Energy Community Cooperatives

ECCO in a European Union funded Interreg North-West Europe project running up to September 2020.

The project will:

  • Deepen: make ECCOs more effective and to improve local energy management. Making existing ECCOs more effective by sharing best practice on financing, legal structures, community involvement, technical and organisational demands from across the partner territories.
  • Widen: grow the ECCO network by supporting development of additional ECCOs. Inspiring, training, and supporting the formation of new ECCOs.
  • Sustain: make ECCOs part of the energy policy development. In the longer-term the aim is to create a sustainable framework for transnational cooperation.

This project creates an alternative approach for local and regional policymakers in North West Europe to reach green house gas reduction targets. We aim to accelerate the development of local Renewable Energy Community Co-Operatives (ECCOs): local, community owned renewable energy co-operatives, involving farmers, private citizens, and local entrepreneurs to produce, store and supply renewable energy by employing local natural sources from rural areas that do not involve any food production displacement, driving a joint local business for long term economic benefits guided by community based democratic control, and committed to learning, training and collaboration.

ECCO projects

  1. Create new ECCOs. We are starting to create 5 new energy cooperatives in Wales and are well underway with development.
  2. Master classes. We want to hold a number of training sessions covering all aspects of energy topics. With the community energy sector facing a number of challenges in 2019, we are carefully considering which topics can provide the best information to aid development in the future
  3. Conferences. We plan to host 2 conferences over the course of the project and are considering options with a number of community energy groups regarding the most worthwhile topics.
  4. Financing good practice guide. We also plan to produce a guide to appropriate financing. We are waiting for clarity on Brexit, export and grid costs and will likely not begin work on this until late 2019.
  5. Reporting on Green House Gas emission reduction and socio-economic benefits. This is being developed in collaboration with other project partners to create some consistency in reporting. We began development in early 2019 and will link to Wales’ Well being for Future Generations Indicators wherever possible.
  6. Mentoring exchanges. Project partners will share their expertise to assist projects in other countries We are in the early stages of arranging to access expertise from the Netherlands on EV car sharing/charging and have visited partners in Ireland to assist with the assessment of hydro opportunities.
  7. Developmental tools. Each partner has provided a number of planning and engagement tools used at workshops, community sessions, public events etc. These tools are currently being compiled and will be shared once complete, as there are some useful exercises that have worked in other European communities.
  8. Accelerator Network. ECCO is planning to leave a clear legacy to enable future ECCOs to form. For Wales we already have many of the pieces in place and so the Accelerator Network will set a clear process for support and communication between community energy groups. The Accelerator Network does not aim to replace existing or future support structures, but it does aim to coordinate these better and avoid duplication, reinvention and avoidable problems. It will also be a platform for sharing best practice.

Project Partners

  1. Boerenbondvereniging voor Innovatieve ISP Projecten vzw (Innovatiesteunpunt) , Belgium
  2. Cork Institute of Technology CIT , Ireland
  3. Philipps-Universität Marburg UMR, Germany
  4. Stichting Streekhuis Het Groene Woud HGW, Netherlands
  5. South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. SKDP , Ireland
  6. RES, Belgium
  7. Energies Citoyennes en Pays de Vilaine EPV, France
  8. Agrobeheercentrum ecokwadraat ABC, Belgium
  9. LochemEnergie (Coöperatie UA) CLE, Netherlands
  10. Zuidelijke Land- en Tuinbouworganisatie ZLTO, Netherlands
  11. The Green Valleys (Wales) Community Interest TGV Company, Wales