ECCO Project Aims
We aim to accelerate the development of Energy Community Co-Operatives (ECCOs), both in effectiveness and in numbers. These ECCOs will be an alternative approach to achieve GHG targets in NWE.
ECCO will focus on effective learning by rallying knowledge and expertise amongst existing cooperatives to overcome barriers such as dealing with the current legal framework, attracting sufficient investments, establishing an elaborate local community involvement and keeping up with complex technical and organisational demands.
This project will strive to develop more ECCOs. We will inspire policymakers and community groups to create their own ECCOs and will support their development process. Partners will share knowledge to provide valuable support for initiating and developing more ECCOs. In addition, the project will provide an open-source information platform to enable prospective ECCOs to access the tools they need for their initial development easily. The Accelerator Network is to function as an ‘ecosystem’ that will develop throughout NWE to facilitate other ECCOs to start and develop. This will be an expanding locally, regionally, and transnationally interconnected network for promoting and supporting a decentralised, ecologically, socially and economically sustainable energy management
Project partners and a set of 9 existing inspiring ECCO examples called ‘Beacon ECCOs’ spread throughout NWE will form the core of this expanding Accelerator Network. These Beacon ECCOs use a range of RE options, including wind power, hydro-electricity, biogas, and solar PV. Beacon ECCOs will function as a tangible source of inspiration for prospective ECCOs, demonstrating how to develop and run an ECCO successfully, and policymakers, convincing them of the validity of the ECCO concept. Subsequently, more and more ECCOs will join the Accelerator Network and share experiences, creating a self-replicating process.
The Accelerator Network will be hosted by RESCOOP, an EU network of energy co-ops that originated as an H2020 financed thematic network but currently involving mostly large energy co-ops. The Network will enable them to reach smaller community-based ECCOs better as well. Long Term Development Plans will be drafted for enabling the transnational Accelerator Network and its Beacon ECCOs to continue operating and expanding post-project. Partners will thus be able to carry on their supporting role after the project has ended and to go on attracting more ECCOs to join the movement. Partners will organise demonstrations and training activities for policymakers and community groups, teaching them how to self-replicate ECCOs.
We are striving to reach out and engage 50 new ECCOs across NEW during the project. This number will multiply following the completion of the project, providing a secure and sustainable energy supply for NWE, successfully achieving GHG reduction targets.
We define ECCOs as ‘community owned co-operatives for energy supply services, involving private citizens, local entrepreneurs and farmers to produce, store and distribute renewable energy by employing local resources from rural areas (planet), driving a joint local business for long term economic benefits (profit) guided by community based democratic control, and committed to learning, training and collaboration (people)’.