Webinar: Non-Profit Energy Cooperatives as the Catalyst of the Movement of People to Renewable Electricity

Webinar: Non-Profit Energy Cooperatives as the Catalyst of the Movement of People to Renewable Electricity

  • Energy
  • Green Energy

The renewable energy revolution poses a once in a lifetime opportunity for co-benefits of democracy, bringing electricity to those who lack it, and equity. This transition has the potential for widely shared prosperity, not just a decrease in suffering. To unlock that potential, however, we also need to disrupt business as usual in the dominant business model. The co-benefits are more likely if the institutions that lead the way are democratically owned and managed with the explicit goal of bringing the benefits of ownership to those who have been traditionally marginalized by the current economic and energy system.

To discuss this topic, the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Center are hosting a webinar on 3 April 2020 at 16:00 CET (11:00 EDT).

The talk will sketch the pathways to sustainable development and deep decarbonization of energy at the global level. First, Professor Melissa Scanlan will discuss research on non-profit energy cooperatives she is leading, which demonstrates how different aspects of the transition are already underway. Each case study, from a comparative perspective of Spain and the U.S., includes an overview of the cooperative’s history, type, and economic sector; context-based on its industry and country; best practices in environmental sustainability; and its governance and cooperative legal structure. The panel will discuss Spanish renewable energy cooperatives involved in various points in the energy system and a US electricity cooperative in the politically conservative Deep South that is leading the transition to renewables.

Second, Professor Gabe Pacyniak will discuss how the rural electricity cooperative model in the United States also presents some challenges when it comes to shifting to a lower-carbon electricity grid. The over 900 electricity cooperatives in the United States have generally been slower to shift to lower-carbon electricity in comparison to other types of utilities. Pacyniak will share research that identifies structural and institutional factors for this lag, and will also highlight opportunities to strengthen cooperative supports and oversight to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon electricity system. 

Register here: Registration Link