Dutch local energy cooperative WeertEnergie celebrated its 10th anniversary on 10 July. What started with a small group of idealists grew into a vigorous energy cooperative with now over five hundred and fifty members.
Plans that were not thought possible have become reality. In 2019, the Altweerterheide solar park combined with the first Dutch community battery was constructed. In 2022, the Weert wind farm with three 4.2 MW Enercon E138 wind turbines along the A2 near Weert followed. This wind farm, a joint initiative with Eneco, was festively opened on 10 June 2022. And to that will be added this year the solar park on Leveroysedijk with 8,800 solar panels. WeertEnergie also focuses on saving energy. Furthermore, members of the Knowledge Platform are investigating whether all kinds of innovations in the field of sustainable energy can also be applied in Weert. “The most beautiful and satisfying thing is the fact that a movement has really started. From wild ideas to realistic plans,” reflects former chairman Peter Gloudi.
How it started
It started in 2011, when a small advertisement in the local newspaper calling out for Weert residents who wanted to help think about setting up an organisation to generate their own sustainable energy, draw a lot of attention. On 10 July 2013, the WeertEnergie cooperative officially became a reality. The aim was to democratically generate and supply sustainable energy locally together with all members. By organising information meetings, being on the market and other playful actions, WeertEnergie grew fast.
Challenges are certainly there. “After the pioneering mentality of the first 10 years, the challenge now lies in further professionalising the organisation, as well as realising new plans, such as self-supply of energy to individuals and organisations. Hopefully, the amended energy law will soon offer us opportunities as a cooperative,” said Kees de Korver, the current chairman of WeertEnergie. Image: Weert Wind Farm. Photo: Dion Huiberts