The COOPEM – Cooperative Energy Mouscron a first of its kind of cooperative, is reminding us that the city is a pioneer in energy efficiency solutions and the promotion of renewable energy.
In city of Mouscron, located in northern Wallonie, the local authority has established a sustainable energy action plan to realise the city’s climate ambitions. Focusing on the development of renewable energy, sustainable buildings and citizen engagement, the city has managed to bring together private and public stakeholders, along with a handful of residents and partners, into a cooperative, the Cooperative Energy of Mouscron (COOPEM) founded in May 2017. This joint ownership model, a first of its kind in Belgium, emerged within the city’s commitment to the Covenant of Mayors initiative, signed in 2012, with the objective of reducing CO2 emissions by 21% by 2020. Since then, the city has updated its target in accordance with the European commission’s objective to reduce GHGs by 40% by 2030 (based on 2006 emissions). With the help of a grant through the POLLEC 2 (Politique locale Énergie Climat) policy, the city set up the cooperative in order to finance renewable energy production projects in an alternative way. This hybrid cooperative model made the city council a promoter but also shareholder of the project from the very beginning. The local authority owns 15% of the cooperative’s shares. Fourteen citizens were also part of the launch of the cooperative, together with two trusted partners in the field, including Energiris, a citizens-led investment cooperative very active in the russels Capital region and ARALIA, a company with a strong track record of renewable electricity production projects.