Patagonia launched the We the Power website and documentary to spotlight the growing community energy movement across Europe. Community energy is a system of energy production in which groups of citizens produce their own renewable power and share the economic benefits among the local community. The campaign aims to demonstrate the advantages to people and planet that this clean energy transformation could bring.
One million European citizens are currently involved in the movement, either as members, investors or customers of energy communities. By 2050, this number could increase to 260 million citizens and community energy could generate up to 45 per cent of Europe’s electricity – providing local jobs, reduced energy bills, a healthier environment and a stronger social fabric.
The We the Power campaign asks European citizens to imagine a new energy system, moving away from big, extractive energy monopolies, controlling the systems of power and money, while exacerbating the climate crisis. In place of this outdated and damaging model is one of local, community-owned, renewable energy production, that is socially innovative and economically beneficial to local communities.
The goal of the campaign is to galvanise citizens to switch their electricity provider to a renewable energy community, to join or invest in a group – thereby supporting local jobs, communities and those in energy poverty – or to start their own. Through these actions, the growth of this important movement could be accelerated across Europe.
The 30-minute film and campaign feature the stories of community energy pioneers such as Dirk Vansintjan, the founder and president of Europe-wide federation of community energy cooperatives REScoop. Other leaders of the movement include Sebastian Sladek, whose parents started EWS Schönau in the 1980s, as a direct response to the potential nuclear dangers exposed by the Chernobyl disaster. Agamemnon Otero OBE, founding director of Repowering London and Energy Garden – bringing community resilience and business buy-in to the movement – is also featured, alongside Nuri Palmada, board member of Spanish energy community Som Energia.
The film was directed by David Garrett Byars, the award-winning director of Patagonia documentary Public Trust, which has been watched 2.5m times since launch in September 2020.
Beth Thoren, Environmental Action & Initiatives Director, EMEA, Patagonia, comments: “This is a win-win situation, whereby local, renewable energy production puts money directly into local communities, and speeds up the creation of a cleaner, healthier future for our children. Patagonia is committing – through our voice, our support for grassroots groups across Europe and our actions as a responsible business – to advocating for this revolution in energy.”
Alex Weller, Marketing Director, EMEA, Patagonia, adds: “We rarely stop and think about where we get the energy that powers our homes and businesses, despite the fact we consume it, non-stop. Taking the production of power into our own hands can have a huge impact on people and planet. The beauty of this model is that – whatever your background or stage of life – you can take an active role, from switching your provider to investing in an energy community and even starting your own.”
Link to campaign site here.
Link to film here.