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Energy cooperatives as multipliers for energy sufficiency

For a successful energy transition, not only the transformation towards renewable energy use, but also an absolute reduction of primary energy consumption is essential. This absolute reduction requires not only technical innovations but also sufficiency-oriented consumption patterns. The implementation and acceptance of energy sufficiency is a challenging endeavour. What contribution can energy cooperatives make to promoting energy sufficiency among private households?  

As established actors in the energy transition, energy cooperatives contribute to nature- and climate-friendly energy production and – through broad participation – to greater acceptance of the energy transition. Through their proximity to their members and customers, energy cooperatives can reach households directly and sensitize and activate them for the topic of energy sufficiency. 

Together with our research partner Adelphi, we develop narratives and communication tools on the topic of energy sufficiency in a transdisciplinary setting. The aim of the project is to analyze instruments used by energy cooperatives to promote sufficiency, such as incentive systems and communication strategies, and to investigate their effectiveness. The project will also test the effectiveness of selected communication strategies in a real-life environmental psychology experiment. Our partner "Energie vor Ort GmbH", a subsidiary of the Heidelberger Energiegenossenschaft, is involved in the project from the very beginning and provides a direct link to relevant target groups. Findings from the project are discussed with participating energy cooperatives and practical implications are communicated to science and society. In this way, the project team intends to demonstrate how energy cooperatives can act as multipliers for the energy transition.

IÖW Project Team