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Smart home solutions: can cooperatives make it happen?

Throwback to's annual conference

· News

Form the 20th until the 22nd of April,’s annual conference gathered energy cooperatives across Europe to exchange ideas about the development of the movement and the challenges and opportunities ahead. This year’s edition focused on how energy communities empower our future. Our energy system has to drastically change in the next years and citizen energy cooperatives are the best positioned to lead the energy transition to energy democracy. During these three days, citizens all over Europe explored alternative ways of organising our society, delved into some of the most trending issues energy communities are working on, and looked at how to support the development of new and current initiatives. 

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In an interactive session, organised by the REScoopVPP project partners, different cooperatives presented the status of development of their smart home tools enabling (collective) self-consumption and demand response. They discussed successes and difficulties with participants and looked to develop a common vision on the possible services of a European IT service provider.

What’s REScoopVPP & its COFYbox? 

First, Vincent Dierickx from set the scene by introducing the REScoopVPP project and its ambition to create smarthome tools by cooperatives for cooperatives. Vincent introduced the project, the partners and the COFYbox main features.

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Cooperatives’ goals with the COFYbox

Afterwards, the different cooperatives Energent (Belgium), Enercoop (France),  Som Energia (Spain), Carbon Co-op (UK) and Bürgerwerke (Germany) presented the status of development of their smart home tools enabling (collective) self-consumption and demand response. 

Amongst other things, Carbon Coop is working on explicit demand side response which helps soften peaks in demand and fill in the troughs, especially when power is more abundant.

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Buergerwerke is trying to increase self-consumption in multi-family homes using the German “Mieterstrom” scheme. Buergewerke may offer incentives to tenants despite the fixed electricity prices thanks to the use of the REScoopVPP COFYbox.

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The main focus of Energent in Belgium is the optimisation of self-consumption and peak saving because users in Belgium will have to pay a peak tariff soon and this will help them to lower their energy bills.

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In France, Enercoop has developed tools to forecast the entire production and load of their portfolio as a supplier, taking into account weather forecast, holidays, historical data... The aim is to shift consumption to the hours of highest production and decrease exposure to market prices.

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In Spain, Som Energia is working on using the COFYbox in order to optimise both self-consumption (solar energy) and retailer portfolio using dynamic tariffs (cheaper when renewable energy is available).

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Tools for Smart Communities 

After the presentation of the different cooperatives, Vincent Dierickx explained how the REScoopVPP tools and services can also support communities to become smarter and more self-sufficient. Communities could for example improve collective self-consumption, enable energy sharing amongst their members, make better use of available green energy, operate in the real-time energy market, import energy at best price (if needed), provide flexibility services, etc.

How can we let it grow?

Lastly, Roland Tual from presented the common vision on the possible services of a European IT service provider. He presented the process for setting-up a cooperative tech service provider and opened the floor for discussion around an emerging question: Should coops own their IT service provider?


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