Democratizing renewable energy – 2019/2020

The role of citizen cooperatives in energy transition


To complete with target-setting obligations under the EU policy Luxembourg has committed to feeding 11% of energy from renewable sources into the grid by 2020. To reach that goals, Luxembourg strategy is to promote decentralized green energy production initiatives and creation of citizen energy cooperatives. Is this the right strategy? Can citizen cooperatives play a significant role in energy transition in Luxembourg ?

Peer group focus

The concept to involve citizens in the production of their own electricity is quite new. As the grid (production and distribution) of electricity in Luxembourg is mainly concentrated in the hands of one main operator a lot of questions emerge.

The overarching objective of the peer group was to analyse the question of democratization of renewable energy in Luxembourg.


It concentrated on :

  • Analyzing the energy usages and sources of energy currently utilized in Luxembourg and PV system. Its weakness and advantages. Analyzing the regulation, community grid and incentives.
  • Learning about the cooperative business model as energy democratization solution and identifying what is the right answer to increase the share of electricity from renewable energy up to 11 % by 2020
  • Developing a cooperative business plan based on the business canva model
  • Choosing a place for application

Peer group achievements

During our investigations we discovered that there are some obstacles on the way of introducing renewable energy on a larger scale in Luxembourg.

From a technical point of view : Solar energy seems to be the best option for renewable energy production but until energy system and distribution system will not transform to more flexible network we cannot profit fully from this abundant source. Introducing new technologies, innovation seems necessary to reach energy demand and sustainability.

Legal point of view : Moreover regulation must evolve giving more autonomy to small actors (for example prosumers) thus enabling realization of renewable projects on a substantial scale. More democratic approach to the energy system and market is required in order to implement environmentally friendly renewable solutions.

Cooperative model : Cooperatives is an interesting answer but the open question is how to facilitate access to cooperative and encourage citizens to get involved. Transforming energy system should be based not only on technical and financial changes but also on the contribution from citizen. This participation should consist not only of becoming an active part in the production of energy but also in consciously understanding the impact we have in the system and environment.

Course sessions link with the project :  First of all we looked at it from the system thinking point of view. In consequence without concentrating only on one question we were able to identify several rigidies in the energy system and main drawbacks in democratisation of energy system in Luxembourg. Sessions about social business and leveraging business and finance for social and environmental impact showed us how business may influence the society and this allowed us to look at the energy market and cooperatives with more awareness and comprehension. We understood that when we do not have a social approach to the cooperatives they might become a tool for profit making only. Cooperative principles correspond with the idea of social learning, self governance and co-responsibility of citizens, therefore session about transforming the economy and society in sustainability was very helpful to us. We could better understand the idea of systemic change.

Peer group members:

  • Christelle ADANT 
  • Ruxandra FLOREA


– co-founder of EquiEnerCoop


External links:

Peer groups pics and videos