As the first blog of 2020, we would like to take you to the origins of our Energy Commons philosophy. During his time as a young mayor in Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen came up with the idea of cooperative self-help after seeing the poverty of the peasant population in the grip of usurers. To meet the needs of the poor farming population, he founded the farmer’s loan bank in 1864. With this he collected savings from the inhabitants of the countryside to meet the need for credit. This idea was subsequently followed in many countries.
Friedrich Wilhelm promised to his first “savers” risks only: he could not guarantee that the savings or the loan that his new bank received would ever be repaid. Solidarity, that was the starting point! Under the influence of this, no farmer went bankrupt then.
The Energy Commons Institute establishes local cooperatives with the aim of sharing locally generated energy in the neighborhood. A household switches from the current energy supplier to the energy collective of the neighborhood; the common. This creates a neighborhood economy. It is mutually agreed how the sustainably generated energy from the common will be distributed and stored in a home or neighborhood battery for later use. The neighborhood thus becomes a small, self-sufficient power plant.
Just like the 19th century savers, we see the cooperative system as a societal role rather than an opportunity to earn a lot of money quickly. In fact: with a healthy management, they could expect a small interest payment but certainly not a dividend or profit distribution; their bank had no profit motive.
The underlying principle was “Help through Self-Help”. How does self-help help translate into the Energy Common? And are we able to set up a similar financial function using the Energy Common? Reactions and suggestions are very welcome.
Enjoy reading and Cheers to a better life and a bright future. Have a prosperous New Year!
Een Blog by Jeroen Geelhoed van &samhoud: https://inspiration.samhoud.com/2014/12/raiffeisen-changed-world/