Publikation Alternatives to Society - Socio-ecological Transformation - COP 21 [en] - Europe for the many - Climate Justice Energy democracy in Europe

A survey and outlook by Conrad Kunze and Sören Becker.



Online Publication


Conrad Kunze, Sören Becker,


Juli 2014


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Already today, the energy transition in Europe is supplanting nuclear and coal power plants and will, at some point, be able to completely replace them. As Hermann Sheer incessantly emphasizes, this transition could also have positive social and political side effects. 

This study offers a general and easy-to-understand overview of vanguard energy democracy projects within the EU. We looked for nascent energy projects characterised by their combination of an energy transition approach with gains in participation, collective ownership, or for local business or ecology in general. Through these twelve select examples, we take a look into this great laboratory of small alternative projects and venture an outlook on future developments and opportunities in the coming years.

Not only are renewable energy sources an appropriate means of combatting climate change, if implemented correctly they could also gradually become part of a wider social change.

Available in German and English.

Conrad Kunze is a sociologist and historian. During the last five years, he has taught, written about and researched various ecology-related questions. Currently he works at the Institute for Environmental Governance at the University of Freiburg. In 2012 he founded the Büro für eine demokratische Energiewende in Berlin and is a volunteer for the Lausitz Climate and Energy Camp.

Sören Becker is a geographer and political scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning in Erkner. He studies new organisational forms, social movements and the shifting spatial structures in the course of the energy transition.

Published by the Brussels Office of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation.


What do we mean by energy democracy?
Distribution in Europe

Socio-ecological, community-owned: Berlin’s energy supplier
Som Energia: an energy cooperative to link local groups in Spain
Machynlleth: Wales’ first community-owned wind turbine
Ungersheim: French mining town turned eco-municipality
Gigha: a Scottish island first socialises the land and then the wind
Zschadraß: wind and solar help a small town in Saxony out of debt
Told: a Hungarian Roma village overcomes energy poverty
Atterwasch: energy transition against opencast mining
Retenergie: an Italian energy collective and green energy supplier
Lieberoser Heide: Europe’s largest solar farm finances munitions clearing
Vents du Sud: an energy production cooperative in southern Belgium
Fair Planet: a global, Münster-based energy cooperative

Democratisation and participation
Property and ownership
Production and consumption cooperatives
Social tariffs
Value creation and employment
Ecology and post-growth



More in the PDF.