Volterra is an energy cooperative that wants to co-develop sustainable energy in Meetjesland, Belgium. They are a group of citizens that produce their own local, clean, and affordable energy, independently from big producers.
The origin of Volterra
A number of people in the north of the Meetjesland, Belgium, wondered what they could do about sustainability after insulating their roof, and installing solar panels and thermostatic valves. Maybe building a windmill for the village? Following this idea and based on the beliefs below, they decided to create the energy cooperative Volterra:
- The transition to a sustainable living environment can be accelerated
- Citizens should have more direct participation
- Wind, sun, air and water belong to everyone
Today, Volterra’s main objectives are:
- Acquire financial resources for investments in renewable energy production and rational energy use
- Promote the generation and use of renewable energy
- Gather renewable energy consumers
- Promote or make available solutions for joint purchases of renewable energy
- Supply renewable energy to members at affordable price
- Allocate its profit (after a fair return of capital to members) to socio-ecological projects in the region or beyond
Volterra produces renewable energy, but it doesn’t supply it to members by itself. Members, however, can register in Ecopower, the only energy cooperative in Flanders that can supply energy. Ecopower supplies this energy to Volterra’s members at favorable rates.
Volterra members can also benefit from other services such as access to a cooperative carsharing project, regular information meetings and promotions related to the cooperative objectives.
Volterra has the following renewable energy generation installations:
- A wind turbine, partially shared with Ecopower, in Huysmanhoeve, in the municipality of Eeklo
- A 95kWp installation, shared with Energent, in a school in Eeklo
- Solar PV panels on the roof of a day care center in Eeklo
- Solar PV panels on the roof of a local service center in Eeklo
- Solar PV panels on the roof of a building managed by non-profit organisation Timelab in Ghent
Moreover, Volterra is working on two new projects:
- A heating network in Eeklo
- A collaboration between Volterra and the the Flemish federation for a better environment Bond Beter Leefmilieu to carry out awareness campaigns around heat recovery in the municipality of Zelzate