Co-op Power is a multi-racial, multi-class movement building a sustainable and just energy future
There is an urgent need today to find innovative ways to respond to the energy crisis and to root capital in the communities of the Northeast. The US is at war to secure access to dwindling fossil fuel supplies. Air quality has been and is being compromised. Respiratory illness is on the rise. Greenhouse gasses are significantly changing earth’s atmosphere. The US consumes a disproportionate share of the world’s energy resources (24% in 2002 according to DOE). Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions represent 82 percent of total U.S. human-made greenhouse gas emissions.
At the same time, capital has been uprooted. It can move anywhere in the world in milliseconds. The Northeast has suffered significant job loss. The gulf between rich and poor is widening. We are unaware of simple economic principles as a people. We have bought the concept that workers and consumers are different groups. We no longer understand that we make things and do things for each other, trading our labor with each other for the things we need. We somehow believe that people somewhere else in the world are the workers making us cheap stuff and that our good jobs are going to come from somewhere else. Good jobs have left and are continuing to leave our communities. Labor unions, the most valuable resource for supporting the rights and interests of working people, are loosing ground. Public assets are being privatized. We continue to hold onto the American Dream - a dream that says we can become wealthy overnight, all on our own … using up natural resources, polluting if we need to, using the labor of others, using the good will and resources of the communities we profess to serve.
Co-op Power is a grassroots vehicle to counter political and social trends that compromise the environment and economy. Locally owned group-based businesses can anchor capital and build community in ways few other business structures can.
To address the energy needs of the Northeast, Co-op Power is building renewable energy resources. The first project is a biodiesel production facility called Northeast Biodiesel that uses recycled vegetable oil to make a regionally produced, regionally owned renewable fuel for home heating and transportation. Co-op Power will also support the development of community solar and other renewable projects in the region to provide regionally produced, regionally owned renewable electricity.
To anchor capital in the Northeast, Co-op Power is building renewable energy resources that are owned by a large group of people who live in this region. If one person or a small group of people owned these resources, they would be free to cash them in whenever they stood to make a profit.
By retaining majority ownership of these businesses, Co-op Power is more likely to ensure the jobs, capital and renewable energy resources continue to benefit the region. To develop and retain majority ownership of these businesses, Co-op Power must amass a significant amount of capital. To that end, the board and members have established that each member will pay between $250-$975 for a membership share.
Co-op Power plans to address the energy needs of this region, root capital in area towns and cities and build environmentally and economically sustainable communities.
To build environmentally and economically sustainable communities, Co-op Power must educate and organize people in the region to use less energy, to use renewable and regionally-produced energy, and to vote with their dollars for democratically-owned, group-based businesses that permanently anchor capital in our region.
Residents of the region are interested in building renewable energy products and services. A 2002 survey of consumer attitudes of 125 adults in western Massachusetts, conducted by Opinion Dynamics, found that 91% favored the increased use of renewable energy, 52% said they would pay more for renewable energy, 33% of these said they would pay $15 or more per month for 100% renewable electricity, and 76% favored the idea of consumer aggregation organizations to buy “green” or renewably generated power less expensively. Residents of other states in our region report similar sentiments.
Co-op Power will manage a significant ownership stake in Northeast Biodiesel, will foster investments in community solar power and other clean energy resources, will provide consumer-members with sustainable energy resources, and will make available resources for a vibrant online community. This business plan describes how Co-op Power will become a successful and financially viable organization, launch sustainable energy projects and initiatives, secure membership access for renewable energy products & services, achieve environmental goals, educate the public, and support local communities in our region. Join us!
West Hatfield, Massachusetts, United States 01088