Stories Around The World
Inspiring story in Austria
The community renewables initiative Windkraft Simonsfeld began life in 1995. Through the efforts of 107 local citizens, the project expanded with one goal in mind – to push forward an ‘energy transition’ that produces green, collectively-owned energy.
Today Windkraft Simonsfeld has 68 wind power stations in Austria (with a total power of 136 MW) and two in Bulgaria. The initiative turned into a joint stock company with more than 1,600 shareholders. Instead of being listed on a stock exchange, shares can be traded 24hours a day through an online platform. These measures have put energy production in the hands of the citizens who consume it, helping to work towards a greener future for all.
Inspiring story in Belgium
Ecopower is a renewable energy co-operative, or REScoop, from Belgium. The origins of the Ecopower story date from 1985 when this water mill was bought as part of a co-housing project. From there the idea for citizen energy production grew, and led to the foundation of Ecopower in 1991.
Today, the co-operative is both an energy producer and supplier operating in the Flanders electricity market. Ecopower is a successful co-operative business with 23 staff that offers nearly 50,000 citizens the opportunity to get a grip on their energy production and supply and to join the energy transition.
For more information, visit: www.ecopower.be/
Inspiring story in Bulgaria
In Sofia, the homeowners’ association of an apartment block have worked together to install a rooftop solar power installation. After 3 years of planning, the all 117 residences are now signed up to what is a truly community project, with a capacity of 28.2 kWp.
The scheme is the first of its kind in Bulgaria, and is expected to produce 35 MWh of electricity annually – equal to 5-7% of the consumption in the building.
The revenues raised from the installation are reinvested locally – in the maintenance of the building and its surroundings.
For more information, visit
Inspiring story in Brno, Czech Republic
In Nový Lískovec, a suburb of Brno, residents of a housing development have come together to save energy and help tackle climate change. Much of the housing in the area was built between the 1970s and 1990s and is poorly insulated, and so the residents decided to work together to retrofit their apartments with proper insulation.
Between 2001 and 2006, the first stage of the project was completed and 384 apartments were successfully insulated, with a further 672 following in 2010. The benefits have been huge: average annual energy consumption fell by 80% after the insulation was installed – something that was only made possible by collective, community action.
Inspiring story in Denmark
Since 2010, a community-run wind farm has operated with great success in Hvide Sande, a fishing community on the western coast of Denmark.The project is community owned and operated, with around 400 shareholders living in Hvide Sande and the surrounding area.
The energy generated has exceeded expectations: since January 2012, the three wind turbines have even been supplying as much power as offshore wind farms. The expected return will be invested in the modernisation and development of the harbour, which is of great importance to the region.
Inspiring story in Finland
In South Karelia, Finland, citizens are bringing a neighbourly spirit to energy production. In 2013 a local group made a joint order for solar power equipment. By sharing knowledge and helping each other, they were able to build 21 solar installations, with a peak capacity of 100 kWp. Over the next 30 years they are set to produce 2,000 MWh, preventing the release of around 7,000 tons of CO2.
The sharing of experience and knowledge has helped the solar projects started, but the benefits of community ownership are yet to be explored. One can only imagine what could be achieved if there was help available to turn initiatives like this into community-run projects.
Inspiring story in France
The Béganne wind farm in South Brittany is an initiative of the local non-profit organisation “Éoliennes en Pays de Vilaine”. Around 1,000 local citizens have financed the project, which will comprise four wind turbines, and which is set to start providing electricity when construction finishes in 2014. When complete, the wind farm will be able to supply enough electricity to power 8,000 households.
Eolienne en Pays de Vilaine is not stopping there: construction will soon begin on an 8 MW wind farm at nearby Sévérac et de Guenrouët.
Inspiring story in Germany
Since 2007, a citizens’ wind park has brought together around three hundred members of the local communities around Schleswig Holstein, in northern Germany. United by their desire to use their natural resources to their advantage, they have succeeded in creating jobs and supplying their community with clean, renewable energy.
The shareholders – local villagers and farmers – are collectively responsible for the running and management of the wind park. With 7 turbines and a capacity of 27.5 MW, the park can produce enough energy for 18,750 households in the region.
For more information, visit: www.windpark-ellhoeft.de
Inspiring story in Greece
Lamia in central Greece is home to the community energy project AgroEnergy. This co-operative organization is run by shareholders who both produce and consume the energy they create from local biomass. The project also tackles climate change and energy poverty, and creates jobs for local people.
The shareholders make the best use of the high biomass potential of the region by only using local biomass that could not otherwise be used in a more sustainable way. For example, farmers’ buildings are heated during the winter thanks to fuel pellets made by a collectively-owned pelletiser.
There has never been a better time to start a community power project in Greece.
For more information, visit www.agroenergy.coop
Inspiring story in Hungary
In Nyíregyháza, in northeast Hungary, a community of 500 households are sharing their skills and experience to build new energy-efficient houses. The homes, which are being made out of straw bales, are extremely energy efficient – helping to fight climate change and reduce energy bills.
By the end of 2015, with help from Energy and Environment Foundation and an expert team of architects, the community plans to have finished 1,000 new houses in the area. This initiative has been made possible by combining environmental and traditional knowledge, and promotes local economic development and energy independence through community action.
Inspiring story in Ireland
Templederry is home to Ireland’s first community windfarm which supplies the grid with community-owned wind energy. The project with two windturbines is run by the people of Templederry. The 32 shareholders all live in the locality and include farmers, students, retired people and members of the clergy.
The project produces enough green electricity to power 3500 homes, or the equivalent of the local town of Nenagh.
This is just one example of thousands of community energy projects across Europe.
Inspiring story in Italy
In the Alps there is a long history of co-operative energy production, and South Tirol is no exception. In Prad am Stilfserjoch, the first co-operative hydroelectric power station was connected to the grid in 1952.
This community in Vinschgau (pictured) produces electricity and heat using four hydroelectric power stations, one photovoltaic station and two local biomass plants. All one thousand members of the co-operative in Prad are owners of the local district heating network. Energy is here a public good that is both produced and used by local citizens.
Inspiring story in De Windvogel, the Netherlands
De Windvogel is a renewable energy co-op (REScoop) that produces renewable energy. This is one of their Enercon-manufactured wind turbines – ‘de Amstelvogel’ – which is located near Amsterdam.
De Windvogel started in 1991 and has grown into an organisation with more than 3,300 members, who collectively own six wind turbines and two solar fields. The electricity that it produces is in turn used by its members.
De Windvogel now works together with 21 REScoops in the Netherlands under the banner of REScoopNL. Together they have 13,000 members and have 52 MW of installed capacity, and collectively push for more community-owned energy in the Netherlands.
Inspiring story in Portugal
Founded in Portugal in 2013, Coopérnico is a renewable energy co-operative that harnesses solar power for the benefit of the local community. More than 80 citizens have helped finance 4 photovoltaic (PV) projects, which now have a total installed capacity of 114 kW.
Coopérnico’s projects contribute to social development as well as green energy. The cooperative rents the roofs of socially-minded institutions for its PV projects, providing them with extra income. At the end of the lease, the co-operative will offer the solar apparatus to the hosting institutions for free.
For more information, visit: www.coopernico.org
Inspiring story in Slovakia
In central Slovakia the Bystricko Bioenergy project is bringing cheap, renewable heat energy to local buildings and strengthening community ties.
Beginning in 2005, a series of coal-fired municipal buildings have been converted to run on waste wood chippings from local sources. Now, 43 buildings across 8 villages are heated using a renewable, local resource that is locally-run and owned.
By making this switch, the municipalities are saving on their energy costs and helping to combat climate change. These savings – of 67% compared to coal-fired heat – mean that local authorities are also able to invest more in local development.
Inspiring story in Spain
In 2004, the local council of La Serna, Palencia, invested in a 450 kW photovoltaic installation that pumped and distributed water around the local community. The project was a social, environmental and economic success. National policies at the time favoured community energy projects, and the mayor encouraged locals to become shareholders in the project, with 90 local people investing their money.
In 2010 the Spanish Government changed their policy, meaning that local investors are now paying more money back to the bank than they receive for energy production. Today, this situation is echoed across Spain, with more than 50,000 families and farmers similarly affected by the change of financial conditions.
Inspiring story in UK
The Isle of Eigg is home to the world’s first standalone energy grid powered entirely by renewables. Until 2008, when Eigg Electric became operational, the islanders were largely dependent on costly fossil fuels shipped in from the mainland. Island residents envisioned a future with reliable round the clock access to electricity, and have now been able to make that a reality.
Households and businesses on the island are connected by an underground cable to energy generated from three sources: hydroelectric, wind and solar. A battery bank capable of providing electricity for up to 24 hours helps smooth out supply and demand, and two diesel generators are used for back-up.
There has never been a better time to get involved with the green energy revolution.
For more information, visit
Community Power Plant Maps
Community owned or supported power plant map of United States of America.
Related Link: https://ilsr.org/community-power-map/
Hot water power plants for distric heating in Denmark.
Related Link : http://solarheatdata.eu/