In 2012, citizens from Highland Park, Michigan came together to form Soulardarity in response to the repossession of over 1,000 streetlights from their city. Their goal is to organise for community-owned solar street lights, energy production and equitable development. Since its formation, Soulardarity has installed seven solar streetlights and deployed over US$ 30,000 worth of solar technology in Highland Park and the surrounding communities through the PowerUP bulk purchasing programme. The group has also organised advocacy at the city and state levels for regulation, policy and local political leadership to support community ownership, transparency and environmental responsibility.
Soulardarity also advocates for a Community Ownership Power Administration (COPA) as part of the growing call in the United States for a Green New Deal to tackle climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice.
Transnational Institute researchers give you a some insights into their work with a Q&A session. Lavinia Steinfort on how cities, communities and countries can reclaim and transform the energy economy from the bottom up.
The GoiEner Cooperative was founded in 2012 in the Basque Country as a response to both the energy oligopoly and the rise of the anti-austerity movement connected to the economic crisis. Over the past six years, this cooperative for renewable energy generation and consumption has grown to include nearly 9,000 members, and has become an inspiring model for the transition to a new energy model.
Key attributes of GoiEner's approach include the alleviation of energy poverty, democratic and participatory involvement, and equal representation of men and women. GoiEner also supports the creation of new renewables cooperatives in other regions of Spain in order to increase local, democratic and renewable energy resilience.
The growing call for the feminisation of politics – and energy politics for that matter – is about much more than merely increasing the representation of women in decision-making positions. We need to question the ways energy politics are shaped. We need to ask, energy for whom and energy for what?
On the evening of 22 January 2018, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced the complete privatisation of the island’s power utility. The public statement came four months after hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated the archipelago leaving thousands of people homeless or dead and over 40 percent of the population without access to electricity and running water. Puerto Rico’s energy system was crumbling long before the tropical weather systems of September 2017 hit the archipelago. The hurricanes only laid bare the unsustainable conditions of the extremely expensive and fossil fuel-generated electrical power regime.
In May 2015, the party Por Cádiz Sí Se Puede (the local version of Podemos) took over the government of Cádiz, inheriting a situation of massive debt, widespread energy waste, severe unemployment, energy poverty, and a lack of public awareness around energy issues. In just a few years, however, Cádiz has celebrated a number of concrete results.
The Atlas of Utopias is a global gallery of inspiring community-led transformation in water, energy and housing. It features 32 communities from 19 countries working on bold solutions to our world’s systemic economic, social and ecological crises.
More than two thirds of the homes in Hungary are insufficiently insulated. As a result millions of people are living in energy poverty. Straw bale insulation and construction offer a simple, inexpensive, environmentally sustainable and socially just housing solution.
Community members banded together in a show of solidarity, committing to collective ownership and equity, transparency, and direct participation in the development and management of their energy infrastructure. This impressive collective commitment has transformed a once-rural village of just over 3,000 residents in the 1980s into a thriving urban metropolis of more than 40,000 residents today.
How can clean and renewable energy remain in people's hands? Listen to energy experts and activists from all over Europe discussing energy efficiency, cooperatives, mobility, remunicipalisation and much more.
Every day public banks are developing new and innovative ways of financing a green transformation. This issue brief explores the lessons from two public banks, one in Costa Rica and the other in Germany.
Residents of the Dutch city of Groningen, where gas is being extracted by the Dutch Petroleum Company (NAM), have lost confidence in the company, and in the regulations intended to protect them. Social movements, civil society organisations and local political parties gathered and discussed the dismantling of the NAM and the need to democratise the energy sector.
One of the first case studies on the website of energydemocracy.net is the city of Boulder, USA. Driven by a commitment to meet its climate goals, Boulder first sought to push its private investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, to embrace a radical transition to low-carbon energy. The reluctance and obfuscation of Xcel led the city to develop plans for a municipal energy utility, which the city has continued to push forward in the face of legal challenges and misinformation campaigns.
World leaders are at the UN Climate Talks (COP22) this week. Developing real solutions to climate and energy challenges will require imagination, determination and inspiration. Inspiration may come from the many cities, communities and even countries that are working hard to make the energy sector democratic, equitable and based on renewable sources.