Ecopower cvba was founded in 1992 as a cooperative under Belgian law. The organisation has three main goals: (1)To invest in renewable energy; (2) To supply 100% green electricity to our cooperative members; (3) To promote a rational use of energy, renewable energy and the cooperative business model in general. By the end of 2013 Ecopower was a cooperative with 48.004 cooperative members, 197.017 shares and 40.818 customers. The latter corresponds to about 1,4% of the Flemish household market. Ecopower has private equity (capital) of 48,5 million euro and a balance total (assets) of 66,8 million euro. The annual turnover in 2014 was 31 million euro which resulted in a net profit of 1,7 million euro.
1. To invest in renewable energy
Ecopower gathers financial resources from as many cooperative members (shareholders) as possible and uses these funds to invest in renewable energy projects. In an ideal scenario the decisions about these investments (and the cooperative in general) involve as many people as possible. Not only because they all have a financial stake in the cooperative, but also because they all have a personal interest in the development of a (sustainable) future. Shareholders of Ecopower can buy one or more shares. There is a limit of 50 shares per person. One share costs 250 euro and is fixed for a period of 6 years in order to avoid huge fluctuations in our capital. Every single shareholder has one vote in the general assembly, regardless of the number of shares he/she owns. Because Ecopower is a registered cooperative under Belgian law, it is obligated to limit the annual dividend to a maximum of 6% per share. The financial surplus can then be used to finance less profitable projects. By the end of 2014 Ecopower composed of 16 wind turbines, 3 Hydro power installations, 1 cogeneration installation and 322 decentralised PV installation on the roof of schools and houses scattered across Flanders. The total production of these installations was about 51 million kWh. In 2014 started a factory that produces wood pellets for residential heating (production capacity: 40.000 tonnes/year).
2. To supply 100% green electricity to its cooperative members
In 2006 Ecopower received a permit to sell electricity on the Flemish market. In order to become a client, people have to buy at least one share in the cooperative. Ecopower does not make a profit
on its energy supply activities. We consider our supply activities as a service to our members. In 2014 we supplied 90 million kWh to our customers.
3. To promote a rational use of energy, renewable energy and cooperative business model
Ecopower is a full member (and vice-president) of REScoop.be, the Belgian Federation of groups and cooperatives of citizens for Renewable Energy. We are also one of the founding members of REScoop.eu, the European federation of groups and cooperatives of citizens for renewable energy that is now an associate member of Cooperatives Europe. The goal of REScoop.eu is to represent the interest of European REScoops towards European policy makers.