Energy Democracy

Citizens* as a central pillar of the energy-turnaround

What's the problem?

Large actors and corporations dominate the energy supply, as was already the case before the start of the→ energy-turnaround. They would like to claim the → energy turnaround for themselves and build renewable energy plants in the future so that the citizens become or remain mere consumers again.

What's the measure?

Everybody can__ take the energy-turnaround into their own hand__, producing their own eco-electricity and/or start energy cooperatives. In Germany, many people already produce their own power:  as a homeowner with a solar plant on the roof, as a farmer with a biogas plant on the farm, or as a member of an energy cooperative that operates a wind turbine, for example.

How can this be implemented?

If you do not own your own roof to put up a solar plant, you can become a member of an energy cooperative and participate actively in Energy system transformation projects. In many cooperatives, it is possible to buy membership-shares even with a small amount of €. Many renewable energy plants distributed throughout Germany were built by energy cooperatives and the energy citizens*. This is a remarkable achievement

  • and it fits the basic idea of the energy-system-transformation: The power plants of the future will consist of many small units and can be used → decentralized.

Many cooperatives now not only generate electricity but also supply the electricity directly to the end consumer*, e.g. in the association of Bürgerwerke or bavariastrom. In doing so, they are taking a very important step towards a real producer-consumer community and are also creating concrete perspectives for themselves beyond the EEG feed-in tariff. As a member of the cooperative, you can thus purchase electricity from yourself - this strengthens the → identification, the awareness for sustainable energy supply and increases the regional added value. (See also the strengthening of energy cooperatives). (S. auch die {translationof orig_page="Stärkung von Energiegenossenschaften" translation_lang="en" translation_page=""}.)

How does this work against climate change?

The expansion of renewable energies is one of the core measures when fighting against the climate crisis because they can replace fossil energy sources, which by its use emit a massive amount of CO2 and thus, greatly contribute to global warming.

Which other effects does the measure have?

Energy cooperatives not only push the expansion of renewable energies in terms of quantity but also have__ social and economic benefits__. Cooperatives' own energy turnaround projects create numerous opportunities to integrate citizens* into sustainable economic processes. This also means that local people regain the decision-making and action options that were previously held by large energy utilities and corporations. This increases the commitment of citizens and the acceptance of local generation plants. It also makes the energy market more democratic and enables citizens* to identify themselves with electricity generation in their communities.

How quickly can this be implemented?

In Germany around 1000 civic energy cooperatives are active, an overview with search function can be found here: Energiewende Jetzt. The cooperatives usually take on additional members and are happy to receive personal, idealistic and financial support for their projects. Accordingly, people can immediately become part of the Citizen Energy Movement. 

Even though the number of newly founded cooperatives has declined in recent years due to the uncertain conditions for renewable energy sources (see also the measure: {translationof orig_page="Stärkung von Energiegenossenschaften" translation_lang="en" translation_page=""} Strengthen the energy cooperatives), citizens* still join forces to promote the → energy turnaround in their region.

References to other measures

In order to maintain the important role of citizens* in the → transformation of energy systems and to enable as many people as possible to become part of the movement, it is also necessary to strengthen energy cooperatives (see:  {translationof orig_page="Stärkung von Energiegenossenschaften" translation_lang="en" translation_page=""} (Strengthen the energy cooperatives)).

Continuative literature, sources

  1. Energiewende: Energiewende am Scheideweg: Wem gehört die Energieversorgung der Zukunft? (2015, abgerufen am 01.03.2020)