Heating Cooperatives in Kõrgesaare-Lauka and Kõpu

Who collaborated? ●

When ensuring the long distance heating network In Hiiuma, Kõrgesaare (364 residents) and Lauka village (153 residents), the local council, housing associations, businessmen forest owners and the NGO Hiiuma Forest Cooperative collaborated in a form of a cooperative.

In Kõpu parish (with 800 residents) in Viljandi county the municipal council, the NGO Kõpu Fire-fighters and the LLC Kõpu Kõrsitalu, approximately 5 private house owners, the head of the local congregation council (for legal reason the congregation can’t participate) collaborated.

What took place? ●

By the lead of The Municipal Council of Hiiu, a distance heating cooperative is being created that would provide heating for Kõrgesaare and Lauka villages, local government buildings (the cultural centre, youth centre, kindergarten, fire house). Even though heating can be provided by a private company, it has been planned to be done in a form of a cooperative – this would energise and bring together local residents. Creating a cooperative takes time, there has already been 10 meetings between the parties and they will be regularly taking place in the future. Making the cooperative a legal entity will take place during 2015.

There are a number of parties involved in the project and each of them contributes with their specific skills. For example the municipal council’s core group will take part in an international collaboration project Smilegov, that brings together small municipal councils and gives advice on the field of energetics. The financial calculations are made by a local resident who used to work in the field of energetics.

In Kõpu organizing a long distance heating started from the need to make sure that heating is available for the residents both in the apartment buildings as well as private houses. If only wooden heating is available it puts extra pressure on voluntary fire men and diminishes the attractiveness of the area amongst younger people. In apartment buildings it was important to start from creating housing associations. Even though the local government did not have an obligation to take part in the project, they saw it as valuable for raising the competitiveness of the area and are in an advisory and supportive role. In October 2015 the cooperative was also made formed as a legal unit. Both cooperatives took part of a mentioning program for energy cooperatives offered by The Estonian Development Fund.

What was the result? ●

In both areas the local residents became much more active, new legal bodies were created (that includes housing associations), creating economically profitable undertakings are under way. All these activities encourage participation in developing the local environment.



Jury’s comment:

As initiatives both of the energy cooperatives are noteworthy, because they have an opportunity to change something fundamentally: organize a local boiler house. At the same time they are difficult to assess, because this is an active process. The aim of the award is to encourage them to continue to act systematically.