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07/06/2018 | Pressemitteilung

Study: Energy cooperatives are booming

The number of so-called energy cooperatives for the production or distribution of sustainable energy has risen sharply in recent years to over 900. This is the result of a study by the University of Kassel. More than two-thirds of them were founded by citizens.

Image: Franz Metelec/Fotolia.

The figures were collected by a working group at the university as part of the "klimaGEN" project and published shortly before International Cooperative Day on July 7. According to the study, the number of energy cooperatives rose from 642 (2012) to 928 (2015) within five years. Additional data shows that this scale has remained stable since then. About 185,000 people were members of an energy cooperative in 2015. Around 68 % of the energy cooperatives were founded by a majority of citizens, 16 % are based on cooperations between municipalities, municipal utilities and regional companies, but in which citizens are also involved. Cooperations between banks are comparatively rare (5 %).

In terms of business models, there are two clear focal points: the operation of renewable energy plants for electricity generation and the operation of local heating networks for local heat supply. In 2015, 59% of energy cooperatives were active in rooftop PV systems, 15% in ground-mounted PV systems, 14% in wind power, and 19% in local heating networks. Still young but increasing is a commitment in the field of electric mobility, in 2015 only 2 % of the energy cooperatives were engaged in this field.

The project "klimaGEN: From the energy cooperative to the climate protection cooperative" is being carried out by the Department of Economics with a focus on decentralized energy management at the University of Kassel (headed by Prof. Dr. Heike Wetzel) and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. Project partners are the Bundesgeschäftsstelle Energie-Genossenschaften at the DGRV Deutscher Genossenschafts- und Raiffeisenverband and the deENet Kompetenznetzwerk Dezentrale Energietechnologien.

Link to the study:
Project homepage:

Beate Fischer
University of Kassel
Department of Economics with a focus on decentralized energy management
Tel: 0561-804 7941
Email: b.fischer[at]uni-kassel[dot]de


Sebastian Mense
University of Kassel
Communication, Press and Public Relations
Tel.: +49 561 804-1961
Email: presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de