Location: Haarlem, Netherlands
Participants: The Municipality of Haarlem, Stadsgarage and Coöperatie Kennemer Kracht
By 2050, Dutch administration aims, in line with EU goals, to reduce the Netherlands' emissions of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide (CO2)) to zero. Natural gas is a major source of CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, and contributes to climate change. The Dutch government aims to rule out natural gas by 2050.
The municipality of Haarlem is frontrunner in the Netherlands on smart sustainable policies and wants to rule out natural gas by 2040. Besides, the municipality has a program ‘New Democracy’ where new forms of cooperation with citizens are explored. Haarlem is particularly active in citizens’ engagement in the energy transition, by stimulating, accelerating and facilitating their initiatives. As observed, active energy cooperation participants are more aware and feel higher sense of urgency. They can help the municipality to implement energy transition plans for their neighbourhoods so that they may switch to 100% renewable energy. With local partners Stadsgarage and Coöperatie Kennemer Kracht (CKK), citizens will be facilitated to join several projects and become prosumers.
Since 2007 local citizens who can’t use their own roofs for solar panels work together to build cooperative solar installations on roofs of willing building owners. The knowledge gained during the first successful projects supported next initiatives in tackling the complex process. At the request of energy initiatives, the municipality issued a call for tenders to set up an organization that would help initiatives overcome financial, organizational and legal barriers. As a result of this tender, CKK now supports not only new initiatives but also existing cooperatives with their administration and next steps in the energy transition. As of 2019 there are 8 solar roofs in Haarlem owned by cooperatives comprising about 400 cooperants. Still many more citizens want to participate in new sustainable energy projects. However it is hard to find proper locations for collective renewable energy power plants. Moreover this requires changing national regulations and subsidies in order to settle robust business cases for energy cooperatives.
The main target of the Haarlem pilot is to establish a professional organisation owned by prosumers which speeds up and scales up the realization of collective solar roofs. The legal structure for such an organisation is the Dutch Cooperative, a legal form of a member association. This organisation requires at the one hand a robust business model to cover its management cost and at the other hand offer attractive propositions for all citizens who want to participate in collective solar projects. To reach this second target a regional learning community with other energy initiatives and engaged citizens needs to be developed. This network informs and involves citizens to increase awareness and sense of urgency and harvest creative ideas of citizens how to accelerate the energy transition in a way with high social acceptance.
The Haarlem pilot consists of three new collective solar roofs embedded in a professionally managed cooperative. At least two hundred more prosumers will become member of the cooperative. During the project period, new laws and regulations regarding collective solar roofs are expected in the Netherlands, as well as changes in supportive tax tariffs. Besides, CKK aims to run its business without subsidies at the end of EMPOWER2.0. This however highly depends on the market circumstances such as a rapid growth in the availability of suitable roofs. And also the efficiency of technical and financial management of the solar plants have to be further improved. In the third place during the project we will focus on new prosumer propositions in order to make participation also profitable for low-income households.
Together with other EMPOWER2.0 partners, a training and acceleration program for citizens will be developed during the project, along with a toolbox for local governments. A regional learning community and living lab will be set up where regional partners can share and develop knowledge.
- Developing new RES plants (CO2 reduction).
- Participation and engagement of citizens (creating ambassadors for the energy transition process).
- Profit sharing from renewable energy production by participating households.
- Sparring partner for the community (engagement of citizens).
- Stimulating the regional economy (small scale investments).
- Sound business case for a renewable energy company owned by ‘prosumers’.
- Development and building of three pilots based on improved and new propositions.
- Cooperation of cooperatives.
- A training programme for amplification and professionalization of citizens initiatives.
- A regional learning community to be established and financed for the next years.