The Estonian Development Fund is carrying out the Energy Cooperatives Mentor Program to establish a network of energy cooperatives in Estonia for the first time. During the year (November 2014 to November 2015), ten participating communities of the Mentor Program get support and expertise in all the key sectors of creating an energy cooperative: financing a cooperative, legal issues related to the creation of cooperatives, community involvement in creating an energy cooperative, and energy technologies. Furthermore, the participants cooperate with each other and share experiences. On the basis of the Energy Cooperative Mentor Program, organizational models for energy cooperatives will be identified, based on which to plan national developments.
INTRODUCTION OF THE ENERGY COOPERATIVES MENTOR PROGRAM
Starting in autumn 2014, the Energy Cooperatives Mentor Program offers the following to the chosen ten communities with the highest potential among the initiative groups:
- Estonian and international expert knowledge and experience in both workshops and individual consultations, in the following areas:
- In financial matters (composing a financial model and a business plan, an overview of funding opportunities for the acquisition of technology and the realization of a business plan), the communities are advised by Villem Vohu who conducted a workshop on financial issues in February 2015;
- In legal matters (drawing up contracts and necessary instruments, solving the legislative matters of the process of creating an organization), the communities are advised by Moonika Kukke and other representatives of the Law Firm GLIMSTEDT, who carried out a workshop concerning legal issues in May 2015;
- In achieveing a community agreement (community involvement, negotiations and motivation), the communities are advised by Peeter Vihma, Hans Christian Sørensen and Lutz Ribbe, who will perform community outreach workshop in March 2015;
- In technological issues concerning various resources (solar, wind, biomass, heat pumps), the communities are advised by Ülo Kask, Andres Meesak, Aivar Paabo, Tuuliki Kasonen, Lutz Ribbe and Hans Christian Sørensen who carried out a workshop concerning technology in December 2014;
- Outreach activities (website, media communication, events, public final conference in the autumn of 2015);
- A cooperation platform (website, events) to communicate with other energy cooperative initiatives);
- An overview of the joys and sorrows of energy cooperatives in European countries;
- Supportive activities, which include a socio-economic impact assessment and an analysis of legal effects, as well as the creation of a website.
The Energy Cooperatives Mentor Program does not provide direct financial support or prepare documents for the participants, but enables to carry out a large part of prerequisites necessary to create an energy cooperative, thereby helping overcome difficulties in the creation of energy cooperatives, avoid mistakes and make community-based energy and / or heat production initiatives into success stories that can set an example for Estonia and internationally.
By the end of the Energy Cooperatives Mentor Program, the successful participants will have everything necessary to launch an energy cooperative, in other words, the following necessary documents:
- a financial model and a business plan;
- a community agreement;
- the knowledge about technological solutions;
- the preparedness for technology acquisition and for obtaining the necessary funding for the operation of the energy cooperative (banks, crowdfunding platforms, investors, support programs, etc.);
- a cooperation network with other energy cooperatives;
- an understanding of the legal issues and legislation related to energy cooperatives.
PARTICIPANTS OF THE MENTOR PROGRAM
The participants of the Mentor Program were chosen by a ten-member expert committee on the basis of applications received, taking into account the current state of the potential participants, their plans and potential. The goal was to have the program include high-potential energy cooperatives initiatives with most different organizational models possible who wished to reduce their costs of electricity and / or heat production and consumption.
You can read more about the chosen communities here.
MENTORS OF THE MENTOR PROGRAM
The Mentor Program’s participants are supported in their development by nine mentors:
Hans Christian Sørensen
1) Analysis of legal effects
Ordered by the Estonian Development Fund, the Law Firm GLIMSTEDT carried out an analysis of legal effects on the basis of the experiences of the ten participants of the Energy Cooperative Mentor Program.
The goals of the analysis were:
- to find out the legal obstacles to the formation and operation of energy cooperatives on the basis of the experiences of the Mentor Program’s participants;
- to offer proposals for the public sector in order to remove discovered obstacles.
As a result of the analysis, a series of reasons and proposals to change the legislation in Estonia will be prepared.
2) Analysis of socio-economic impacts
The Estonian Development Fund in collaboration with the community involvement mentor Peeter Vihma carries out a socio-economic impact analysis on the basis of the experience of the ten participants of the Mentor Program.
The aim of the study is to predict the proportion of the energy consumption and production of potential energy cooperatives in total electricity and heat production of Estonia, and its impact on entrepreneurship, the population’s subsistence and regional development.
The study consists of two parts:
- Describing the current socio-economic impact of the ten participants of the Energy Cooperatives Mentor Program and the impact their choices of energy technology made upon the formation of energy cooperatives.
- Describing the potential and influence of energy cooperatives in the development of national electricity and heat supply, based on the data gathered about the Energy Cooperatives Mentor Program’s participants during the conducted study and other existing analyses.
3) Website and Calculator
The implementation of the Energy Cooperatives Mentor Program is also supported by this website and the Calculator.
For further information and questions, please contact the Project Manager of the Energy Cooperative Mentor Program, using the following contact details.
Energy Cooperative Mentor Program project manager
tel: +372 616 1100