Citizens participate in the energy transition

Wind cooperatives are increasing—securing space is the main problem

Lüneburg. The transition to energy sources is a task that involves more than one generation. Eighty percent of all energy consumption will have to be covered by renewable energy sources by the year 2050. Popular acceptance and financial participation by local citizens are important factors. In a recently published study, the finance expert, Prof. D., Heinrich Degenhart of Leuphana University of Lüneburg examined the role that cooperatives play in this energy transition. The study was sponsored by the Cooperative Foundation of the Cooperatives Union, e. V. In the past few years, newly founded energy cooperatives focused their efforts mainly on solar energy. Many of these cooperatives are now showing a stronger interest in becoming involved in the wind energy sector. The study examined the efforts of 45 cooperatives in wind energy, most of which are in the early stages of their formation. The study, entitled “Citizen Wind Parks as Cooperative Projects,” came to the conclusion that financing is not the main problem that wind projects face.

Venture as well as finance capital is sufficiently available in many regions. Securing the necessary land represents a fundamental problem however. In this regard, energy cooperatives often have to go up against well-financed competitors. This often leads to limitations in securing land suitable for wind energy. A variety of solutions have been developed in different regions for the purposes of supporting cooperatives in these situations. One way out has been to establish service cooperatives that could acquire properties suitable for wind energy. The cooperatives have also started building better networks between each other. Citizen-run wind cooperatives increasingly have good prospects for playing a significant role in the foreseeable future, according to Professor Degenhart. The Energy Competence Center and the Start-Up Center of the Cooperatives Union, e. V., play a supporting role in the founding of new cooperatives, while also fostering existing cooperatives in their continuing development.


Prof. Dr. Heinrich Degenhardt
Professur für Finanzierung und Finanzwirtschaft
Leuphana University Lüneburg
Telefon +49.4131.677-1930

Thomas Berg
Leiter Gründungszentrum „Neue Genossenschaften“  
Genossenschaftsverband e.V.
Telefon +49.69.6978-3251