Collaboration between local authorities and Renewable Energy Cooperatives

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: Addressing climate change has become a major challenge. To keep the rise in temperature below 2°C, by 2050, the carbon emissions should be reduced to 80% of their levels compared to 1990. In order to achieve the targets, all levels of society need to be engaged. But even if the targets are realized, there is a real concern in how they are realized. The many crises, society is facing now, are a symptom of a failing world view. Fighting the symptoms without addressing the underlining causes is merely postponing the problem. Business as usual will not be sufficient to tackle the problem at the roots. Everywhere in the world, local authorities commit themselves to undertake climate action but often lack the capacity to implement these changes. They need partners for successful collaboration. Renewable Energy Cooperatives (REScoops) are identified as a great potential partner to address these challenges. This thesis addresses the following research questions: 1. What are the challenges local governments face in realizing their climate action commitment? And what do REScoops have to offer? 2. What are the challenges cooperatives are facing? And what can municipalities do to facilitate cooperative entrepreneurship? 3. What are successful examples of collaborations between local governments and REScoops and which factors made the collaboration successful? Case studies are used to gather insights and resulted in recommendations for local authorities to facilitate future collaborations. Evidence from the case studies illustrates that cooperatives provide an ample opportunity to implement local authorities’ climate action plan through the implementation of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency projects, while generating multiple other benefits such as unburdening the local authorities’ administration but also addressing the wider context of engaging citizens in the energy transition, fostering a long term behavioral change and fostering positive impact on the local economy through their mission-oriented business. REScoops and municipalities have great potential in collaborating when vision is aligned and mutual benefits are clear. Local authorities can strengthen -3- REScoops in achieving their shared goals in the energy transition in multiple ways, such as the adding specific criteria in the call for tender, advocating the cooperative model, facilitate networking and others. 

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