Members of energy cooperatives take on the role of prosumers: both consumer and producer by setting up and joining these cooperatives as investors, shareholders and clients. To work towards becoming a resilient institution, it is important that cooperatives preserve their support base by understanding the motives of their members.
The Energy, Sustainability and Society Journal published a study on this topic titled ‘Ecological, financial, social and societal motives for cooperative energy prosumerism: measuring preference heterogeneity in a Belgian energy cooperative‘. The authors, Fijnanda van Klingeren and Tine De Moor from Erasmus University, investigate the preference heterogeneity and motivations of members of a large energy cooperative in Belgium. It uses stated-choice data from a Discrete Choice Experiment in combination with self-reported membership motives.
It turns out that ecological motives seem to be most important for members of this energy cooperative. The article concludes by raising awareness with cooperatives that their legal form may not be the only factor that drives membership. Rather, keeping high levels of renewable energy, competitive pricing and being an interesting investment opportunity may be key to cooperatives’ resilience and further development on the energy market.’