As Coopernico Energy Cooperative celebrates a significant milestone – a decade of pioneering work in Portugal’s renewable energy sector – the announcement of a partnership with the PIK Potsdam in context of the DIALOGUES project aims to enhance the importance of democratic, equitable, and inclusive energy transitions. The alliance aims to address the critical need for democratised energy access and enable more citizens to participate in energy transitions – a step toward a fairer and just society.
The cooperation is grounded in the belief that energy transitions must be by and for the people. To that end, Coopernico and PIK Potsdam are seeking to broaden participation in energy transitions by focusing on inclusivity — reaching out to communities and social groups that are underrepresented in today’s energy landscape.
Supporting this partnership is the DIALOGUES project, part of the Horizon 2020 programme, which seeks to strengthen the concept of energy citizenship, facilitated by the integration of more citizens into the energy sector. PIK Potsdam brings valuable experience to this cooperation, having previously engaged in a successful partnership with the largest energy cooperative in Berlin (BürgerEnergie Berlin). PIK Potsdam supported BEB in statistical assessments of its members and conducted Citizen Action Labs (CAL) providing insights into opportunities to integrate less represented groups, including women, migrants, and younger generations.
Deep-rooted in Coopernico’s philosophy are the principles of ecological sustainability, economic viability, social responsibility, and democratic management. This innovative Portuguese energy cooperative holds an impressive track record in democratizing the energy sector and shares its accrued benefits with investor-citizens. This symbiosis of democratic management and equitable benefit-sharing makes Coopernico an instrumental player in the endeavor of achieving energy justice.
However, ensuring just energy transitions requires understanding who is and isn’t participating in this movement. Therefore, PIK Potsdam, with its robust scientific and analytical expertise, is set to assess Coopernico’s member data — anonymously andunbiasedly. The analysis will lend significant insights into the composition of the energy cooperative’s members and identify areas of underrepresentation.
Using these analytical insights, successful CALs will be conducted in collaboration with cooperative and energy experts. The Citizen Action Lab, set for February 2024, will focus on identifying underrepresented groups within the cooperative and devising tailored strategies and practical recommendations to effectively engage and integrate them into this energy revolution. This collaboration not only resonates with the principles of just transition and energy democracy but also describes a novel narrative – one where the energy transitions are not just about ecological sustainability, but also about social justice.
Author: Héctor Rodríguez-Chávez (PIK-Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)