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Elektrizitätswerke Schönau, Germany

How mothers, teachers and doctors took over the power grid and energy supply

When the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl exploded in 1986, a cloud of radioactive gas spread over much of Europe, including a town in the South of Germany at the border of France and Switzerland. In Schönau, in the Black Forest, the event sparked a response that would evolve into a cooperative that supplies 170,000 citizens with electricity, committing itself wholly to the phasing out of nuclear energy worldwide.

Som Energia, Catalonia (Spain)

A democratic alternative to the Spanish energy oligopoly

The liberalisation of markets ordered by the EU left the oligopolistic Spanish energy market basically unscathed. Endesa and Iberdrola alone have an 80% market share. Green energy suppliers are still scarce, and community-owned solar parks are not widespread. The cooperative Som Energia, founded by staff and students of University in Catalonia seven years ago, promises to change this. Its goals are – much like similar projects in other countries – to promote climate protection and the energy transition, in combination with an economically viable business model.