Source: Local Futures
Most of us do not trust fossil fuel corporations to put people and planet first, but there is no guarantee that “green energy” companies will behave any more responsibly: they are subject to the same profit and growth imperatives as older power companies and utilities. The solution is for communities to produce their own power.
- Bring locally-owned renewable energy to your community with help from Friends of the Earth Europe’s Community Energy: A Practical Guide to Reclaiming Power, which offers strategies for individuals, community groups, and local governments.
- Establish a “solar garden” where you live. These solar arrays, located on a large rooftop or on the ground, are cooperatively owned by nearby residents, and make renewable energy affordable for renters and low-income residents. This free video-based training program, Solar Gardener Training, describes how to start a solar garden in your community.
- Browse country-specific resources, networks, and guides to community energy: Coalition for Community Energy (Australia), Community Energy Network (New Zealand), Portland Energy Conservation (USA), Community Energy England, Community Energy Wales, Community Energy Scotland, ReScoop (Europe).
- Learn about how to start a community solar garden with this free video-based training program, Solar Gardener Training.
- The 100 residents of Isle of Eigg in the UK own and operate their own electricity provider, Eigg Electric, which features a mix of wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower.
- Avani Bio Energy, a social enterprise in Uttarhakand, India, builds generators powered by gasified pine needles, which are a fire hazard if not collected.
- Low Carbon Hub in the UK town of Oxfordshire turns unused roof space and fields into renewable energy power stations, funding the projects through community share offers.
- The 50,000 members of the Ecopower cooperative in Flanders, Belgium, have reduced their electricity consumption by 50%, and produce the remainder with locally-owned wind, solar and water power.
- Members of the Bethesda Energy Local Club in the UK coordinate their electricity use with peak generation from a small locally-owned hydropower station.
- The members of Cooperative Energy Futures in Minneapolis, US have created several cooperatively-owned solar gardens.
- For hundreds more examples of community-driven energy projects already underway, check out The Community Power Report. Also see Energy Stories from Vikalp Sangam (India) and the Community Power Map from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (US).
- The database Go 100% is a list of communities worldwide that have achieved or plan to achieve 100% renewable electrical energy. (Note that not all projects on this list are decentralized or under community control.