It is patently obvious that GOIENER is in Europe. But perhaps it might be a good idea to remind ourselves of what we have been doing and how our activities have no borders. In the same way that sunrays know no borders such is the case of our cooperative energy model.
In the first half of 2017 we have taken part in a number of events that have a European dimension, namely the following:
We took part in a workshop organized by RESCOOP.EU where the IT departments of a number of European cooperatives came together. There were around 20 of us learning about the extent to which technology influences our cooperative activity, what types of tools we use, the importance of open programming languages in our respective areas and ways of working together and sharing knowledge.etc.
It was a particularly interesting encounter where we could learn about initiatives which can help us ensure that the work that we have being carrying out is correctly focussed by observing the path taken by other cooperatives that are similar to ours but which have been working longer in this field than ourselves. As well as that, we have been establishing relations with a view to sharing ideas in the future so we can share work models, tools.etc..
In April we were in LEIDEN (Netherlands) as part of the European programme SI DRIVE SOCIAL INNOVATION. Thanks to this programme in which research centres from all over Europe in the field of social innovation participated, we could see the interest shown for cooperative energy models with a high degree of citizen participation and the need to redefine European policies so that they take into account the reality of cooperative models like that of GOIENER. It was an interesting experience and we could learn of the growing importance that the social component of our project has and its repercussion in different fields.
On 12 June the General Assembly of RESCOOP.EU was held. We attended this assembly as a full-fledged member but it has also been the first meeting where the UNION OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES has been officially presented, a group which represents 17 cooperatives which in turn represent more than 30,000 people.
At this assembly we got first hand news of how the association of European citizen cooperatives has been evolving and how it has become more and more relevant not just in Europe but also in groups like the International Association of Energy, IRENA, the network of energy cooperatives in the USA and in many other groups.
Above all, it was a meeting where each cooperative shared their experiences, explained the projects they are involved and where we learned from each other, particularly in the area of generating energy.
But the most gratifying aspect of encounters like this is meeting people from all over the continent who share the same concerns as ourselves and that, in spite of the different languages, cultures and visions, we have many things in common such as our desire for the democratization of energy, fair access to energy, the need for renewable energy, energy efficiency and above all, a good dose of humour and passion in all that we do.