In 2020, 229.9 MW of cooperative wind power was installed in the Netherlands. This is a growth of 19% compared to 2019 and also confirms a general trend that the impact of Dutch energy cooperatives is increasing for all renewable energy sources. This and more is evident from the sixth edition of the Lokale Energie Monitor (Local Energy Monitor) report of the climate foundation HIER.
The cooperative wind turbines are good for an annual power generation of about 735 million kWh. This is comparable to the electricity consumption of Dutch 245,000 households. This brings the total (allocated) cooperative share to 5.7% of the total onshore wind capacity in the Netherlands. At least 92.5 MW of new wind capacity is still under construction, bringing the total installed cooperative wind capacity to 322 MW between 2021-2022. In addition, another 65 MW is awaiting decision by the Council of State for building consent. This is expected in the short term.
Growing impact of energy cooperatives
For the other renewable energy sources, it appears that 41% more collective solar power has been installed in 2020, good for 48.6 MWp. In addition, there were 43% more heat initiatives in 2020. This highlights the growing impact of energy cooperatives.
According to the report there are 623 energy cooperatives in the Netherlands (this was 585 in 2019). There are approximately 97,000 members. The cooperatives are by now located in all provinces, regions and 85% of the municipalities, covering an area where 95% of the population lives. It is thus possible for almost all Dutch inhabitants to join a local energy cooperative. 19% of all cooperatives work on wind projects.
After seven years of rapid growth in the number of cooperatives, there seems to be some saturation in the number of energy cooperatives. At the same time, a major professionalisation step is taking place among the existing cooperatives, indicating a shift from quantity to quality, Siward Zomer, cooperative director at Energie Samen, said.
The energy cooperatives are developing into dynamic and effective cooperatives with more of their own projects, members and participants. They are increasingly assigned a social role in which they contribute ideas and make decisions about regional and local energy policy, the interpretation of participation and ownership of the local environment. Cooperatives organise themselves in regional, provincial and national partnerships.
An energy cooperative that has been really active is Burgerwind cooperative West-Betuwe (BWB, Betuwewind). Two wind farms, with 14 wind turbines in total, were put into operation in Geldermalsen in Rivierenland in 2019 and 2020; Deil (46 MW) and Avri (10 MW). Burgerwindcoöperatie West-Betuwe owns 36% and 100% respectively of the wind farms.
Accoridng to Gijs Termeer, director at the HIER climate foundation, the growing impact of energy cooperatives indicates that they are an indispensable link in the energy transition. Not only for the generation of sustainable energy, but also for local participation and control. The revenues from renewable energy projects remain in the region, this way the local environment also benefits.
About the Local Energy Monitor
Climate foundation HIER has been using the Local Energy Monitor to measure the impact of local energy cooperatives in the Netherlands for six years now. The Local Energy Monitor is a joint publication of HIER and RVO. The research is carried out by Anne Marieke Schwencke, with the cooperation of regional partners. Source: Hieropgewekt.nl