Renewable energy projects driven by co-operatives

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A new study published by Energy Transition reveals how the shift towards renewable energy or “Energiewende” in Germany is driven by co-operatives.

Energy Transition, a website developed by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, emphasises the energy transition is Germany’s largest post-war infrastructure project.

With the adoption of the Renewable Energy Act, which subsidises producers who invest in wind and solar energies through feed-in tariffs, more than half investments in renewables had been made by small investors.

The Renewable Energy Act is also an initiative aimed to strengthen the economy of the country having led to the creation of many jobs. More than 380,000 Germans work in the renewable sector at the moment, more than in the conventional energy sector.

The switch to renewable energy has empowered local communities and encouraged their citizens to produce their own renewable energy.

Subsidies for renewable energy projects have been covered by higher energy prices for households. However, Energy Transition highlights the fact that renewables only seem to cost more than conventional energy, but they are getting cheaper while conventional energy is getting more expensive.

Speaking of the important role co-ops play in renewable energy sector in Germany, Sven Giegold, MEP for the Green Party said: “Co-ops can help greening all sorts of sectors. We have a huge wave of new co-ops in the energy sector-about 600 new-renewable co-ops were set up in Germany.”

Mr Giegold continued: “It is obvious that many members are concerned about the environment and co-ops are the chance to realise common projects for greening the economy and creating new jobs. I think this is something the co-op movement can be really proud of”.

Germany is committed to fulfilling its climate commitments and renewables play an important role in making this happen. Through the Renewable Energy Act Germany would also like to develop high-value engineering technologies, giving German firms a first-mover advantage.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is a think tank for policy reform promoting green visions and projects. The foundation works with 160 project partners in over 60 countries and currently maintains offices in 29 countries.

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