What are energy cooperatives?
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation No. 193 on the Promotion of
Cooperatives 200211 defines a cooperative as:
an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic,
social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
ILO Recommendation 193, paragraph 2
This definition has been adopted from the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) Statement
on Cooperative Identity 1995, thus it represents not only the decision of the constituents of
the ILO but also the 1 billion members of cooperatives worldwide.
In this paper, energy cooperatives are defined as cooperatives that are formed for the pur-
pose of producing, selling, consuming or distributing energy or other services related to this
area. Through energy cooperatives, members address their common need for affordable and
reliable electricity and modern energy services as well as other related economic, social
and cultural needs. Renewable energy in this paper is understood as “all forms of energy
produced from renewable sources in a sustainable manner, in particular, but not limited to:
bioenergy; geothermal energy; hydropower; ocean energy, including inter alia tidal, wave and
ocean thermal energy; solar energy; and wind energy”.