Area of knowledge-transfer 2 Energy cooperatives: an alternative form of ownership?

Programme for the transfer area

While sharing economies and open access put forward fundamentally different alternatives to ownership, in all its forms, cooperatives represent a paradigmatic example of the transformation of ownership into an alternative, non-private form. They constitute a particular form of cooperative collaboration based on community ownership and, since there are over 300,000 cooperatives in the EU alone, they represent far more than simply a niche phenomenon.  Alongside credit unions, retail cooperatives and building societies, (civic) energy cooperatives (including those explicitly promoted by the German Renewable Energy Sources Act) are beginning to play an increasingly important role in the context of the transition towards sustainable energy and a sustainable economy. These organisations aim for a decentralised, company-independent model of energy production and represent a mode of civic participation at regional and municipal level.

The transfer area “energy cooperatives” is concerned with the significance of alternative, cooperative forms of common property when it comes to sustainable economic activity and processes of ecological transformation. In cooperation with representatives from local energy cooperatives in Thuringia, the Federal Office for Energy Cooperatives in Berlin, relevant political actors in municipal and regional contexts and representatives of environmental associations, this area will explore the scope and strengths, challenges and limits of cooperatively organised energy supply. The subproject TP C03 Groß serves as partner for this transfer area.