MECISE

International Conference

International Conference

REScoop.eu and five of its members organised a big conference in Brussels to present the main achievements of REScoop MECISE, a Horizon-2020 project funded by the European Commission. REScoop MECISE stands for “Renewable Energy Cooperatives Mobilising European Citizens to Invest in Sustainable Energy” and aims to trigger an ambitious investment portfolio of community-owned renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Moreover, it wants to establish collaborations with cities and municipalities and developed innovative financing models for European energy communities.

The conference gathered energy cooperatives, local authorities, policy makers and a wide range of stakeholders from the EU energy debates. About 150 people were welcomed by the Director of the EU federation of renewable energies (Dörthe Fouquet) with whom REScoop teamed up in the last couple of years to do advocacy work related the EU Clean Energy Package. Before touching upon the project achievements, Dirk Vansintjan (REScoop.eu) presented the main achievements of the EU federation of renewable energy cooperatives and Karel Derveaux (Ecopower) ran through the set-up and background of the project.

REScoop MECISE managed to trigger an overall investment portfolio of EUR 110 million in community-owned renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and mobilised over 50.000 citizens in the energy transition. The partners experimented with innovative business models and were able to invest in RES projects that traditional investors did not dare to tackle because of considerably low returns. 

Mark Luntley from the social enterprise Energy4All explained how they have been supporting schools and communities in the UK to invest in solar power projects through the Schools’ Energy Cooperative. Profits and energy savings are now paid back to the schools, reducing their monthly bills. Courant d’Air implemented an energy saving programme for schools and trained local school children in the German speaking region of Belgium to save vast amounts of energy. Fiene Biesbrouck revealed how Ecotraject was set-up and how it assists members of Ecopower to do deep energy retrofits in their homes.

One of the main achievements of REScoop MECISE was the set-up of successful collaborations between cooperatives and municipalities. The conference featured the case of Eeklo (Belgium) where Ecopower invested in a district heating network. Ben Caussyn explained how the city of Eeklo retains money within their community by teaming up with the local cooperative. Courant d’Air successfully developed a windfarm that will be jointly owned by local citizens and the municipalities of Amel & Büllingen (Belgium). It was Mayor Friedhelm Wirtz who came all the way down to Brussels to tell more about how that came to practise and what it means for the people in his municipality.

The conference also touched upon innovative business models. Nuri Palmada from the Spanish cooperative Som Energia shared the experiences of “Generation kWh”, an innovative financing scheme where members of the cooperative provide a zero-interest loan and get electricity at cost price in return. The consortium also managed to found a Mutual for energy communities that will provide financial services to REScoops from across Europe. Daan Creupelandt (REScoop.eu), Maëlle Guillou (Enercoop) and Karel Derveaux (Ecopopwer) explained that REScoop MECISE sce is set-up as European cooperative society that will be open to REScoops, municipalities and institutional investors. It is meant to overcome the financial barriers that energy communities are facing today.

Before concluding the day, we had an interesting panel discussion led by REScoop's advocacy officer Josh Roberts. Representatives of the EU Parliament, the commission and Energy Cities discussed how to properly engage citizens, energy communities and local authorities in the future energy market.

One of the main achievements of REScoop MECISE was the set-up of successful collaborations between cooperatives and municipalities. The conference featured the case of Eeklo (Belgium) where Ecopower invested in a district heating network. Ben Caussyn explained how the city of Eeklo retains money within their community by teaming up with the local cooperative. Courant d’Air successfully developed a windfarm that will be jointly owned by local citizens and the municipalities of Amel & Büllingen (Belgium). It was Mayor Friedhelm Wirtz who came all the way down to Brussels to tell more about how that came to practise and what it means for the people in his municipality.

The conference also touched upon innovative business models. Nuri Palmada from the Spanish cooperative Som Energia shared the experiences of “Generation kWh”, an innovative financing scheme where members of the cooperative provide a zero-interest loan and get electricity at cost price in return. The consortium also managed to found a Mutual for energy communities that will provide financial services to REScoops from across Europe. Daan Creupelandt (REScoop.eu), Maëlle Guillou (Enercoop) and Karel Derveaux (Ecopopwer) explained that REScoop MECISE sce is set-up as European cooperative society that will be open to REScoops, municipalities and institutional investors. It is meant to overcome the financial barriers that energy communities are facing today.

Before concluding the day, we had an interesting panel discussion led by REScoop's advocacy officer Josh Roberts. Representatives of the EU Parliament, the commission and Energy Cities discussed how to properly engage citizens, energy communities and local authorities in the future energy market.

The programme, pictures and presentations can be found here