In order to successfully implement the energy transition, not only the transformation towards the use of renewable energies, but also an absolute reduction of primary energy consumption is essential. Measures that promote sufficiency lifestyles are in part hardly researched or are considered difficult to implement. Energy cooperatives can expand their activities to promote energy sufficiency. They are established actors in the energy transition and contribute to nature- and climate-friendly energy production and - through broad participation - to greater acceptance of the energy transition. Through their proximity to their members, energy cooperatives can reach consumers directly and sensitise and activate them for the topic of absolute reduction of energy consumption.
As part of the project "Energy cooperatives as multipliers for energy sufficiency", the communication toolkit for (citizen) energy cooperatives (*only available in German) was developed. Following the motto "Making sufficiency a topic and activating new target groups", the toolkit guides project teams step by step through the development of communication campaigns or events.
The toolkit can be used independently bya team or supported by professional facilitation. The individual tools build on each other, but do not have to be applied one after the other. Individual tools can also be selected, depending on the respective challenges a team might have or for the specific next steps in a project.
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We as an energy cooperative used the toolkit to get an introduction to the topic of communication and public relations, and to get a better understanding of what is needed for good communication in a very structured way.
Member of the Management Board, Ilmtal Energy Cooperative
How the toolkit is structured
The toolkit contains 7 tools. They cover the complete process - from the idea to the concrete planning of a communication project.
Part of each tool are worksheets to fill in. Templates for worksheets can be found in the PDF(*only available in German) and are used for structured exchange within the project team. The worksheets are not only suitable for developing ideas or solutions, but also enable structured documentation of the results. It is best to enlarge them on flipcharts for joint processing in the team.
In the course of the project, the toolkit was tested with different energy cooperatives and all tools were applied in moderated workshops.
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I would definitely recommend working with the toolkit to other energy cooperatives because it provides a great structure, especially because communication is not necessarily the core business for energy cooperatives.
Communication & Campaigns, Energy Cooperative Heidelberg
In the following video, representatives of various energy cooperatives talk about their impressions of working with the communication toolkit, addressing the following questions:
How has your communication work benefited from the toolkit?
Which of the tools was most helpful for you in your communication work?
Would you recommend other energy cooperatives to work with the toolkit?
Under the overall management of adelphi, the project team - together with the Institute for Ecological Economy Research - supports energy cooperatives in the development and implementation of communication offers on the topic of energy sufficiency. The aim of the project is to analyse instruments used by energy cooperatives to promote sufficiency (such as incentive systems and communication measures) and to examine their effectiveness. Our practical partner Energie vor Ort GmbH (a subsidiary of the Heidelberger Energiegenossenschaft) has been involved in the project from the beginning and provides a direct line to relevant target groups.
The communication tools for energy cooperatives were not only developed and tested, but also presented in a joint webinar (*in German) - together with the partner organisations, the IÖW and the energy cooperative EvO. In the webinar, the tools for developing communication measures, events or an action week, were presented. In addition to the theory, energy cooperatives provided insights into the projects they were able to develop with the help of the communication tools.
Led by the IÖW, a toolbox for the implementation of an action week"Energy transition plus - shaping change together" was developed within the framework of the project. The action week is a structured event format that introduces citizens to the topic of sufficiency, and encourages them to reflect on their own energy and resource consumption – and finally, to get involved in society. The action week, as well as the communication toolkit, was successfully tested by several energy cooperatives within the project.
Further information on the concept of the action week as well as all materials are now available for download so that energy cooperatives and any other interested stakeholders can carry out their own action week.