What is a REScoop?

What is a REScoop?

REScoop is short for renewable energy cooperative, and refers to a business model where citizens jointly own and participate in renewable energy or energy efficiency projects. We also refer to REScoops as community power or community energy initiatives.

REScoops do not necessarily have the legal statute of a cooperative, but rather distinguish themselves by the way they do business. They typically respect 7 principles that have been duly outlined by the International Cooperative Alliance:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Economic Participation through Direct Ownership
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

All citizens are eligible to join a REScoop. After purchasing a cooperative share and becoming a member or co-owner of local RES and EE projects, members share in the profits and often are given the opportunity to buy the electricity at a fair price. In addition, Members can actively participate in the cooperative: they can decide in what and where the REScoop should invest, and are consulted when setting the energy price. 

REScoops are not the same as financial cooperatives (FINcoops). The latter also issue shares to finance renewable energy projects, but unlike REScoops, the members of a FINcoop do not own the projects themselves. Projects are typically owned by a private company that receives a subordinated loan from the FINcoop. As a result, FINcoop members are exposed to a considerable financial risk. As a federation, we support the model with direct citizen participation because we believe that it fosters social acceptance for renewable energy.

Watch our video to see how a REScoop works.