Parallel Session 4.4: With Affordable Housing and Energy
Dirk Vansintjan has been fighting for a citizen-based energy transition for more than 30 years. In 1991, Dirk co-founded the renewable energy cooperative Ecopower to promote the development of renewable energy in Belgium. Ecopower dates back to 1985 when the watermill of Rotselaar was bought as part of a co-housing project. From there, the idea for citizen energy production grew, and led to the foundation of Ecopower, the largest energy cooperative in Flanders, Belgium, with nearly 60,000 members. Ecopower operates 24 wind turbines, 3 hydropower plants and 300 photovoltaic plants with a total annual electricity yield of 90 gigawatt hours. The cooperative is both an energy producer and a supplier; a successful cooperative business working on the transition towards a sustainable, democratic energy system. Dirk is also the president and co-founder of RESCoop.eu, the European federation of renewable energy cooperatives, founded in 2013. He is a co-founder and board member of REScoop Vlaanderen, the Flemish federation for renewable energy cooperatives and the co-founder and vice-president of REScoop.be, the Belgian federation for renewable energy cooperatives. Dirk was awarded the Schönauer Stromrebell prize for his commitment to the environment and his vision of doing business in a sustainable and socially fair way.