In the coming years, cooperatives together with developers will become even more important for the energy transition, predicts Rob Jetten, outgoing Minister of Climate and Energy. Tijmen Keesmaat and Klaas Guldie briefly pulled Rob's jacket at the Open Energy Day on September 16 2023 in Nijmegen and asked him about the importance of organizing sustainable energy collectively.

''How important is the role of developers in creating sustainable energy projects?'' Tijmen and Klaas asked the outgoing minister. "Developers have an important role in cooperative formation and the knowledge to be gathered in it," said Rob Jetten. He experienced it himself in the energy cooperative in his neighborhood in which he himself is active. A number of enthusiastic local residents wanted to realize sustainable energy for the neighborhood together from the bottom up, but did not know how to go about it. The developer of the project provided support. "Forming a cooperative is important to shape that cooperation for all parties. Cooperatives will become much more important in the next ten years, but as a government we have to guide them well through all the bureaucracy, regulations and subsidy applications. The smoother we can organize that, the more enthusiastic we can keep the cooperatives," says Rob. 

Not talking out of idealism 
If it's up to Rob Jetten, it's also about having the right conversation. "The majority of the Dutch are taking action to do something about the energy transition because of the high energy prices and not out of idealism. Then you shouldn't start to ask every household you ring the doorbell if they want to join an energy cooperative with an inspired story about saving the planet. Sometimes it is better to start the conversation about a well-insulated house with a lower energy bill in prospect. You can see that conversation happening all over the Netherlands now because of the energy coaches who are often brought in from cooperatives."  

Rob Jetten identifies that sustainability in Utrecht, Gelderland and Flevoland is moving eight times faster than the government thought two years ago, leaving grid operators unable to keep pace. What solution does he have for this?  "Above all, we will have to start using the power grid more intelligently. At what time of day does a household or company use energy? As an energy supplier, can you also advise your customers on that? In the Arnhem-Nijmegen region, for example, forty percent of the grid congestion could already be solved by using smarter charging stations. If you let that realization sink in, then you know what we as a government have to do in the coming years, but the pace has to pick up considerably. That requires much more steering from above, both from the state and the municipality."

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