ECCO - Creating new local Energy Community Co-Operatives

Project Summary


Policymakers want to unlock Renewable Energy (RE) to meet their GHG reduction targets. Currently, they can only turn to the establishment of energy producers to realise their objectives. These traditional actors are slowly becoming interested in RE but are very reticent to share socio-economic benefits with the local communities concerned. The result is a growing public resentment (NIMBY) and a failing market for RE.

Characteristically, RE allows for distributed production and for involving local communities. Bio-Energie Dörfer in DE are the best proof of this: actively involving local communities in their RE production is a feasible way to address the failing RE market. Especially rural areas and farmers offer the physical and social resources needed for a decentralised, community based approach to providing RE.

However, emerging local community initiatives are presently facing barriers. They lack adequate knowledge (of finances, technology, marketing, and management), which prevents them from becoming reliable RE providers. Numerous policymakers have indicated, therefore, that an effective exchange of knowledge is needed to speed up the RE transition.

  • We aim to accelerate the growth of local Energy Community Co-Operatives (ECCOs), both in effectiveness and in numbers. We will achieve this by bringing ECCOs together and linking them up with relevant sources of knowledge from around NWE to overcome the barriers they face at present.
  • We will inspire policymakers and community groups to initiate their own ECCOs,
  • We will facilitate their initiatiation and development processes. By designing and establishing a transnationally connected Accelerator Network (AN),
  • We build the organisational structure that secures that the support activities are continued after the project has ended.

The large number of policymakers and organisations that have already signed up as associated partners to this project are seen as a first testimony of commitment to the results we want to deliver.

We start off bottom-up with the combined experience and best practices of 9 existing ECCOs spread around NWE. The transnational work of these pilots will function as 'beacons' for us during the project period and beyond to inspire policymakers and prospective ECCOs.

We will reach and engage 50 new ECCOs during the project, each producing at least 600 MWh RE on average, reducing GHG emissions by 7.500 tns/yr in total. The tangible demonstration of this potential will encourage other policymakers to adapt their policies in favour of ECCOs (20 policies expected in 10 years post project).

REScoop originated as an H2020 thematic EU network for mostly larger RE coopertives. The AN will make them well equipped to reach out to individual local ECCOs. This results in 500 additional ECCOs in 10 years post project, bringing the GHG reduction total up to 150.000 tns/yr.

Project Partners

Name Contact Name Email Country
Cork Institute of Technology Ger Kelly Ireland
Philipps-Universität Marburg Markus Hassler Germany
Stichting Streekhuis Het Groene Woud W Thijssen Netherlands
South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. Seán de Buitléar Ireland Dirk Vansintjan Belgium
Energies Citoyennes en Pays de Vilaine Edgar Wolf France
Agrobeheercentrum ecokwadraat Bart Schoukens Belgium
LochemEnergie (Coöperatie UA) Tonie Tekelenburg Netherlands
Zuidelijke Land- en Tuinbouworganisatie Aniek de Jong Netherlands
The Green Valleys (Wales) Community Interest Company Christopher Blake United Kingdom


The ECCO One stop shop is the energy community accelerator Network

Posted on

The ECCO project aims to accelerate the growth of local Energy Community Co-operatives (ECCOs) both in effectiveness and in numbers by bringing them together and facilitating effective knowledge-sharing mechanisms to speed up the Renewable Energy transition. The project is funded by the Interreg North-West Europe programme with project partners from Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Germany and the UK. Read More

A new platform gathers tools and resources to help energy communities move forward

Posted on

There are many useful tools and resources on the internet to help citizens set up an energy community, but these are scattered across many different websites. Following the work done a few years ago by Munster Technological University, has joined forces with several EU projects to make things easier and bring all resources together in one single place: the Energy Community Platform. This new website aims to provide citizens with all support they need to move forward with their energy community projects. Read More

Farmers, engine in the transition!

Posted on

Local energy communities turn out to be one promising strategy for the energy transition in municipalities in rural areas. Farmers can play a key role in this. In the framework of the Interreg NWE project we'll tell you more about ECCO. Halnet and Landscape Energy are two energy cooperatives of farmers and citizens who not only produce green energy and sharing, but also creating added value for it landscape, bio-diversity and carbon sequestration. Read More

Guide: Citizen energy, a practical guide to energy democracy

Posted on

This guide contains information from 29 projects from all over Europe, including stories from the 'beacon eccos' of the ecco project. It is a collection of practical tips, instructions, inspiring success stories and invaluable resources for creating a local energy revolution from within your community. Citizen energy is essential to face the climate crisis. At the same time, it boosts the local economy, revitalizes communities, and helps local governments to make solid plans for the future. So it is a handbook for everyone. Read More

ECCO Entrepreneurship Conference - 6 December 2021

Posted on

Session 1: ECCO-entrepreneurship -WATTELCE methodology - A methodology focused on modelling the activity of an umbrella organisation for citizen energy projects (Florian Guillotte, 7 Vents cooperative) -Digital tools to manage energy communities CoopHub: (Eric BUREAU, Energie Partagée ) ECONOBIS: (Rene van Vliet, Econobis) Session 2: Community-based virtual power plants: -The ECCO Pilote case of the ELFE project (Nicolas Desruelles, EPV, France Brittany) -The ECCO Pilote case of LochemEnergie :Energy trading between households: An example from the Netherlands (Tonnie Tekelenburg, LochemEnergie and Albert van der Meer, Hanzebox) Read More

The Green Transition and Community Participation – The Hidden Benefits

Posted on

This session was attended by some 50 participants from all over Europe. Local communities of citizens who jointly invest in renewable energy projects contribute to the green transition by producing more green energy and thus contributing to more reduction of CO2 emissions. These are the obvious benefits of citizen energy and citizen participation in the energy transition. In this session, the Interreg NWE project ECCO focuses on the hidden benefits and gains of citizen participation in energy transition in both rural and urban settings. This was explained to the participants by means of 5 short videos of examples from ECCO. Read More

Share this

Tweet Share