What wind energy cooperatives are there in the world?

  • Wind energy, a renewable source of energy with several advantages for society. Photo: Pixabay

    Wind energy, a renewable source of energy with several advantages for society. Photo: Pixabay

  • Energy 4 All Logo. Photo: Energy 4 All

    Energy 4 All Logo. Photo: Energy 4 All

  • “Live from the Air in the Sky” project. Image: Live from the Air

    “Live from the Air in the Sky” project. Image: Live from the Air

  • Community Windpower Logo. Image: Community Windpower

    Community Windpower Logo. Image: Community Windpower

“Live from the Air in the Sky” is a pioneering Catalan initiative developed by EOLPOP to build a wind turbine cooperative.

Wind energy is a renewable source of energy with several advantages for society. This type of energy consists of converting the wind-powered movement of a turbine’s blades into electrical power. Among other benefits, wind power is a source of energy which does not produce waste or water contamination.  In addition, it contributes to sustainable development in regions and is an endless resource as wind is a permanent source of power on the planet. It also reduces the use of fossil fuels and boosts the economy by creating jobs.

In Catalonia, the  Live from the Air in the Sky project is an initiative launched by EOLPOP, the organisation responsible for carrying out and promoting the project, which consists of installing a community-owned wind turbine that will be successfully micromanaged by the shared owners. The idea was first proposed by Eurosolar Catalunya, the local chapter of the Associació Europea per les Energies Renovables. In this sense, there are different cooperative wind power projects in the world that work along the same lines. Here we present the following:

 

United Kingdom:

  • Energy4All: is a network of 22 independent, renewable energy cooperatives. There are currently 13,250 members working to develop clean energy projects.
  • Community Windpower: is the main wind energy cooperative in the United Kingdom since 2001. They work with specialists to identify, design, develop, and build wind farms.
  • Kilbraur Wind Energy Cooperative: is part of the network of Energy4All cooperatives and its wind farm is located in Strath Brora, Sutherland (Scotland). Their goal is to generate clean green electricity and reduce the environmental footprint.

Denmark:

  • Wind Turbine Co-ops in Denmark:  There are over 100 cooperatives in Denmark, including: Naturlig Energi, Middelgrunden, and Denmarks Vindmølleforening (the Danish Wind Turbine Owners’ Association). They lead the sector between 1980 and 1990. Recently, smaller cooperatives have been replacing larger turbine projects.

Belgium:

  • Ecopower: is a cooperative made up of more than uniting over 50.000 citizens investing in renewables. The community owns the renewable energy plants which house wind turbines, solar panels, small hydroelectric energy plants, etc. They work collectively to generate sustainable business and invest in renewable energy.

New Zealand:

  • Blueskin Energy Project: is a social enterprise established by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust with the goal of developing turbines in Blueskin (New Zealand), making it the first community in the country to generate electricity out of wind power. Their vision is to work as a collective consciousness to create local solutions and pave the way to a future with green energy.

Canada:

  • Peace Energy Cooperative: began in 2002 with 80 memberas and was officially established as a cooperative in 2003. Their most important project is a wind park in Bear Mountain but the cooperative is also committed to making renewable energy accessible to all members of the Peace Region.
  • Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative: is the leading organisation in the development of renewable energies. TREC supports cooperatives, indigenous communities, and social enterprises. Their objective is to work together to make use of resources and profit from renewable energies in a democratic way.

United States:

  • American Wind Energy Association:  is the wind industry’s national association in the United States and the fastest growing renewable energy organisation in the country. More than a thousand members promote wind energy as a clean electricity source for American consumers.
  • Windustry Community Wind: the mission of Windustry is to promote sustainable energy solutions and empower communities to develop and own clean energy assets.

Australia:

  • Freemantle Wind Farm: is a project with a long history thanks to the strong community volunteers in Fremantle who set out to establish a cooperative in Rous Head.
  • Hepburn Wind: is the owner and operator of the first wind energy community in Australia, based in Leonards Hill, 62 miles northwest of Melbourne.  The project was built in accordance with the values of responsibility, support, democracy, equality, and solidarity.

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