Public joint ventures
The transition towards a decentralised supply system employing renewables cannot be enforced "top down". Instead, all regional forces need to take on their share of responsibility – and together undertake the necessary steps to create an advanced sustainable provision.
These "forces" include not only municipal authorities, banks and individual businesses, but also – first and foremost – local residents. Today, many are willing to be counted when it comes to regional projects. These citizens want to exert influence and participate in shaping the energy supply system of tomorrow.
Doing what needs to be done.
Taking care of the supply
One significant way in which we have helped to encourage the use of renewable energy is by the promotion of a decentralised energy supply. We support communities, energy cooperatives, and public initiatives in designing their own projects, in particular providing assistance on how to define financial and legal structures and obtain the requisite permits. Throughout this process we work closely with the union of cooperatives to ensure professional handling of projects for the benefit of all concerned.
- Legal Entity
- Voting Rights
- Business Activity
- Member Loans
- Parishes and Municipal Authorities
Cooperative – regional, stable and responsible
Cooperatives are a suitable form of legal entity for working together on a regional basis. They create stable general conditions in order to secure the energy supply on a regional basis on their own account, to strengthen the value-adding potential of the region and to maintain a good quality of life. At the same time, they offer farmers, local residents and municipal authorities a proven, practical and democratic legal entity.
Cooperatives can be described as the coming together of natural (e.g. citizens) or legal entities (e.g. municipal authorities or companies) in order to act together as a business. Requiring only three members, they are easy to form; there is no upward limit on membership. Joining and withdrawing are easy and require no notary public.
In line with the democratic structure, each member of the cooperative has a single vote – irrespective of their respective shareholding.
How are voting rights exerted?
Cooperatives generally operate according to a one-member-one-vote rule. In a two-stage cooperative structure, local residents can be "grouped" into cooperatives that participate in higher energy cooperatives.
How do you become a member of a cooperative?
Membership is acquired as part of the formation by signing the articles of association. For joining later, issuing a declaration of joining is sufficient. The board accepts the joining new member and informs existing members of the new entry in the list of members.
What is "joint business"?
For energy cooperatives, the joint operation and organisation of plants for the generation of energy from renewables on its own account are the focus of activities. Membership of a cooperative represents a partnership in a business and should be viewed differently from a purely financial investment.
What is the extent of member's liability?
Members are liable to the extent of their shareholding. The share value is determined in the articles of association. Generally, energy cooperatives waive liability to effect further contributions in the articles.
What are "secondary membership loans"?
A member may issue a loan to the cooperative as funding for a specific project. Such loans are a voluntary arrangement between individual members and the cooperative. Interest rates depend on the financial possibilities of the cooperative. In the case of insolvency, repayment would be made after all other demands have been satisfied.
How can you withdraw?
A period of notice of termination is agreed in the articles of association. Membership or individual shareholdings can be terminated to the end of the financial year under observance of this period. The business funds are shared out following a general assembly that has approved annual accounts.