One-third of Germany’s clean energy cooperatives don’t plan new projects in 2021 – survey
Clean Energy Wire
Citizen energy cooperatives are planning fewer new projects than in previous years, a survey conducted by the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation (DGRV) showed. Thirty-four percent of Germany’s 835 energy cooperatives are not investing in new projects in 2021, in particular in the area of solar energy production. While in 2020 over half of the cooperatives were still planning new projects in this field and 72 percent did in 2017, the figure shrunk to 38 percent for this year. About 80 percent of energy cooperatives operate solar power plants, DGRV wrote. In recent years, the expansion of tenders for the promotion of renewable energies has pushed back the commitment, the confederation said. Eckhard Ott, chairman of the DGRV, said that the development was worrying because “energy cooperatives and other citizen participation models strengthen local acceptance for the energy transition.”
The 835 energy cooperatives with their 200,000 members invested a total of 3.2 billion euros in renewable energies and generated around 8.8 TWh of clean electricity in 2020, the DGRV stated. Citizens’ engagement and the appeal of independence and “energy democracy” are reasons for Germans’ strong support for the energy transition despite higher power prices. Recently, it has been difficult for citizen energy groups to compete against bigger bidders in the auction system that sets remuneration for wind and solar parks.