Renewable Energy Cooperative Partnerships

Renewable Energy Cooperative Partnerships



What is a RENCOP ?

Renewable Energy Co-operative Partnerships, in short RENCOP’s, are partnerships that can include citizens, authorities, businesses and academia. The basic functional set-up is likely to be comprising communities, coordinators and experts. Every RENCOP is different, but usually the goal will be to implement renewable energy projects that one person or group alone could not manage. Maybe you know of an example in your home country as well. The partners of Co2mmunity are establishing RENCOP’s across the Baltic Sea Region to learn from each other about the opportunities and pitfalls of co-operative renewable energy project development.

Involving CE Stakeholders in each Partner Region

Working cooperatively among diverse stakeholders, as for example in a RENCOP can be a challenging endeavour. As part of our project we have developed different tools for getting an overview of stakeholders and managing a RENCOP. The aim is to support the development of more local and regional RENCOPs.

Current Status of Development

The RENCOP’s are at different stages of development and as our approach develops this site will be updated. Below you can find more detail in a list providing and an interactive map listing the project partners in each country.

When you ask a Danish person what is a RENCOP he might say: fællesskaber med fokus på vedvarende energi. As we do not all speak Danish, find some information on the Danish Co2mmunity RENCOPs below.

RENCOP – Common Purchase of Heat Pumps

To promote the transition to  neutral heating in private homes, Middelfart Municipality is running a campaign to inform citizens on the possibility to purchase heat pumps collectively. By purchasing as a group, the citizens can reduce the investment cost of the heat pumps.

During these campaigns with approximately 250 citizens attending, Middelfart Municipality offers support and advice for the citizens. For example by helping to find different suppliers and ensuring that the whole process goes forward. In the end, the citizens of course still have to decide for themselves, which offer they want to take.

RENCOP – Common Purchase of Heat Pumps 2.0

In the last week of October 2018, the second round of common purchase of heat pumps has started. The first meeting was held in Brenderup, a village in Middelfart Municipality and three more meetings will be held in Fredericia, Kolding and Vejen municipalities. Some of these municipalities are associated partners in Co2mmunity, and the collaboration is a witness of spreading, and sharing, experiences with Community Energy projects.

The 20th of November a meeting was planned in Fredericia, where citizens, interested in a common purchase of heat pumps, could attend the meeting and learn more about it and sign up for the common purchase, if they were interested.

Another Common Purchase of Heat Pumps is planned for spring 2019.

RENCOP Green City – Brenderup

The citizens of the village Brenderup decided that they want to support the green transition. Currently Middelfart Municipality and some citizens from Brenderup are working on mapping the possibilities, to make Brenderup a Green City. The first goal is already clear: To become self-sufficient with CO2 neutral electricity using photovoltaics.

The citizens of Brenderup have been working on realizing a large solar park with the goal to supply the city with green electricity. The 1st of November the citizens of Brenderup had to submit the project idea for the solar park to a company called Energinet, in order to be included in a tender for financial support.

The 9th of November the tender has been decided, and Brenderup has been granted a financial support of 10 øre/kW over 20 years.

The solar park is planned to cover an area of 20.000 km2 which corresponds to about 1/3 of the electricity consumption in Brenderup will be covered.

RENCOP – Termonet

We can increase the district heating coverage in Denmark from 64% to almost 100% by combining existing technology in a new way. This is done by fusing the collective organization known from district heating companies with individual geothermal heat pumps. With the great advantage of using low-pressure and low-temperature grids, this is done with help from a supply network based on heat absorbing vertical and horizontal plastic tubes. We call this network Termonet. Termonet can be used for both heating and cooling. This is an “Expert” RENCOP including the energy companies TREFOR and EWII production.

Monday the 19th of November a meeting between TREFOR and Middelfart Municipality has been held, in order to discuss the different possible ownership models of Termonet.

Furthermore, something called “Club Termonet” is set in motion, with the purpose, to assemble stakeholders and other interested parties and to spread and develop the idea of Termonet.

Føns – The first movers

Føns district heating, Denmark’s smallest district heating plant has ben operating since October the first 2015 and is supplying 46 households with around 400 kW heat, saving 280 tons .

In 2012, long before CO2mmunity, Føns started the process of finding a heating supply solution for the village and the conclusion was a small district heating plant, powered by wood chips. During the process of finding a common heating supply for the village, many challenges appeared, but in the end, Føns got their district heating plant.

Inspiration: The project got inspiration from another city, Samsø, which has a small district heating plant. Føns was able to secure the necessary amount of connected users, by charging a small connection fee.

After successfully implementing a small district heating plant, Føns is still not finished. The small village is working on becoming more green and they are working on different new and inventive ideas.

Indslev – Large scale heat pump

Indslev is one out of four cities chosen for installing a large heat pump in a small district heating system.

 

The Tartu Regional Energy  Agency organises RENCOP activities around Tartu. The target groups are rural communities and appartment resident associations. The first RENCOP meeting was held in May 2018. The workshop spread ideas and benefits of CE projects. Furthermore knowledge on community energy and cooperatives in general was shared. The aim was to initiate new projects, provide expert knowledge and help to build a network among practitioners.

The knowldege shared included benefits of CE, activities for realising a CE project, lessons learned from the Estonian Energy Cooperatives Mentoring Programme and a crowd funding model. The second part was very concrete as leaders from existing cooperatives shared their experiences. The last part formed a discussion on the obstacles to CE and how to realise proejcts anyways.

RENCOP in Finnish is: ‘uusiutuvan energian yhteisöhankkeita edistävät kumppanuus’. There are two RENCOPs developing in Finland, namely in South Ostrobothnia and around Helsinki.

Expert-driven RENCOP of South Ostrobothni

In South Ostrobothnia, an expert driven RENCOP has been formed in the beginning of 2018 to further renewable energy projects in the area. An ambitious topic of micro-CHP with its new technological solutions was chosen in the hopes of making a real change and speeding up energy transition. In addition, the expert-driven RENCOP acts as a catalyst in forming renewable energy projects connected to one of the following: biomass, biogas, solar energy or geothermal energy. Discussions on renewable community energy and biomass-based micro-CHP are continuing at the next RENCOP meeting in September.

RENCOP project: Advancing solar energy in Alavus city area, Finland

Inspired by the Alavus city councils initiative called “Sunny Alavus” (Aurinko-Alavus/2017), in which a certain political group expressed a will for Alavus city to become an exemplary city in the use of solar energy, Thermopolis Ltd. – Energy Agency of South Ostrobothnia teamed up with the Alavus Development organization in the spring of 2018 to further this common goal. Interested citizens were invited to a solar energy evenings, held twice in the area. Also, awareness on renewable community energy and solar energy was raised by participating on the local fair called “Companies at the Arena” and through an article at the local newspaper. At the solar energy evenings the participants were also offered to take part at a common purchase of solar panels. A handful of house owners have remained interested in this, offers from the solar panel providers have been asked and soon it will be up to the people themselves, which (if any) offer they want to accept. 

Helsinki RENCOP development

In Helsinki, the RENCOP work is focused on stimulating solar electricity projects in the apartment buildings. There is high interest in Finland towards solar electricity in the apartment buildings by the housing companies established by the apartment owners (the condominiums), but still very few installations. There are nearly 90 000 housing companies in Finland, and over 2.6 million people live in apartment buildings (about 50 % of the households).

In Helsinki, the RENCOP is an expert-driven group where solar energy experts, solutions providers and other key stakeholders work towards identifying barriers and key mechanisms supporting the housing companies in acquiring solar electricity. Plan is to utilize the expert group’s support and encourage and support renewable energy projects in Helsinki region. The RENCOP coordinator is Green Net Finland. The group was established in the beginning of 2018, and the kick-off meeting was organized in January 2018.

Currently the work is focused on providing neutral and easily accessible information on solar electricity, identifying good examples and cases in Finland and internationally and organizing information events and seminars to apartment owners about solar electricity – providing information on both technological and economical aspects.

A first example of such events was a breakfast on solar PV  for housing companies which took place in August. There Aalto University presented its results from a survey showing that Finnish citizens living in housing companies wish to make community energy happen. The event garnered national media attention.

RENCOP in German would sound something like this: Kooperative Partnerschaft für Erneuerbare Energien.

Energiebürger SH is working with local district of Rendsburg Eckernförde to establish a RENCOP.

Current Situation

Although the concept of district heating (DH) is widely known in Latvia and most DH companies are owned by local municipalities, the community energy (CE) approach is not well-known and used in practice and there are just a few successful examples.

Co2mmunity Pilot Project in Marupe Municipality

The Riga Planning Region is working to establish a RENCOP in the Marupe Municipality. Main problems and myths regarding RE projects in Latvia and in the Marupe municipality are that people often believe that:

  • RE is expensive
  • Profits are insignificant as compared to the investment
  • There is a relatively small number of sunny days in Latvia, therefore the use of solar energy is expensive and unprofitable
  • That RE projects should always be co-financed from the EU or other support instruments

Activities in the „GRAMANČIA“ community center

The Gramančia Center of the Pagramantis community was registered in 2005. Co2mmunity aims to unite Pagramantis population, develop community spirit, to care for the community’s well-being: to protect their rights, to maintain and develop the infrastructure and projects, to develop cultural and sporting life in the village. Provide suggestions to local and regional authorities.

In 2017 arose the idea of establishing of community house and implementation works started: a part of a building for the purpose to the community’s activities and the living of its elderly members, for providing healthcare, nursing services and giving opportunities for active communication. was renovated.

For our Polish visitors an explanation of RENCOP in Polish ‘otwarta grupa robocza integrująca ekspertów, przedstawicieli klastrów energii oraz wszystkich zainteresowanych przyspieszeniem rozwoju energetyki obywatelskiej w Polsce w formule klastrów energii.’

In English, a RENCOP is an expert group integrating stakeholders, experts, members of energy clusters and all people interested in strengthen development of energy clusters, energy cooperatives and foster the development of renewable energy projects carried out by citizens.

At the beginning of September 2018 the RENCOP kick-off meeting took place in Warsaw. It was opportunity to hear inspiriting stories of energy clusters and join discussion with experts on future of the community energy market in Poland. Next meetings will be divided into various topics such as: legislation, financing, public acceptance, presence in the power system and more. Updates on recent activities and upcoming events can also be found on the FNEZ homepage.

If you would like to be a member of this RENCOP group and support an energy transition focussing on local energy potentials – do not hesitate to join us. Please contact: mk@fnez.pl

The Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden is mostly working in the counties Blekinge, Kalmar and Kronoberg. Their strategy is to provide expert inputs from companies and experienced communities to housing cooperatives. The advantage is that the housing cooperatives are existing community structures. About one fifth of Swedes lives in a housing cooperative. 

The RENCOP is active since 2017 and several meetings and workshops were held. In these workshops:

  • Up to 200 interested citizens were present
  • Citizens were informed on possibilities for communal purchases of PV cells and new rebates in tax law
  • Open sessions were held where experts and citizens came together to explore new options
  • Expert knowledge from the Lycksenberg cooperative, Linnéuniversity, the association of energy trading companies, local grid operators and generation technology (biomass, PV,…) experts was provided