How are people across the world taking back power over the energy sector, kicking-back against the rule of the market and reimagining how energy might be produced, distributed and used? How can the concept of energy democracy be deployed to demand a socially just energy system, with universal access, fair prices and secure, unionised and well-paid jobs? This report summarises the discussions and outcomes from an international workshop on energy democracy held in Amsterdam in February 2016.
How are people across the world taking back power over the energy sector and re-imagining how energy might be produced, distributed and used? How can the concept of energy democracy be deployed to demand a socially and just energy system, with universal access, fair tariffs and secure, unionised and well-paid jobs?
The absence of over 70 percent of international delegates, denied temporary visa by the Canadian government, overshadowed the World Social Forum. Despite this saddening fact TNI's team managed to host and participate in a broad and diverse range of discussions, workshops and activities, for instance in the convergence space of “People and Planet before Profit. Moving away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leaked TTIP documents show the EU is promoting unrestricted trade in fossil fuels and working to limit the implementation of clean energy policies, just months after the bloc proudly claimed to have “been at the forefront of international efforts towards a global climate deal”
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.
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?
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.
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.