Greenpeace Energy

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Greenpeace Energy
IndustryElectric power
Revenue€5 million
395 GWh
Number of employees

Greenpeace Energy is a German electric utility in the form of a registered association. The stated goal of the cooperative is the provision of environmentally friendly energy to the electrical grid.

As a founding member of the association, Greenpeace e.V. holds only five shares at €55 in the cooperative, otherwise the environmental group and the company are financially and legally independent. The name use is linked contract with the condition that Greenpeace Energy fulfils the conditions laid down by the Greenpeace e.V. quality criteria for "clean energy".


In 1998, Greenpeace started a renewable energy initiative called "power shift". There, consumers could choose to switch to a green electricity provider. As more and more consumers agreed to switch to an environmentally friendly provider, Greenpeace found no electricity provider that met all the criteria for environmental sustainability, and supply the increasing demand for sustainable energy. As a solution, Greenpeace Energy was founded in 1999, as an electricity provider that produces a large part of its electricity from renewable sources. The areas of network management and energy billing are not adopted by Greenpeace Energy itself but by its affiliate company, Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall, as a service provider.

The Cooperative[edit]

Greenpeace Energy chose to establish itself in the legal form of a registered cooperative (eG). The motivation for this decision was that it allows Greenpeace Energy to be independent of banks and major shareholders and build equity on a wide base of shareholders to offer as well as favorable current. Therefore, at present no returns will be distributed to the shareholders (as of 2011).

Membership in the cooperative is formally dependent on the current reference - according to the statute, can be excluded a cooperative member who "does not cover its demand for electrical energy supplies through the Cooperative". This right part of the cooperative is expressly not perceived, what results are based on the fact that some members of the cooperative power of Greenpeace Energy can not relate. A cooperative member has at least one, and can hold a maximum of one hundred shares of €55. As usual with cooperatives, each member has regardless of the number of shares only one vote at the General Meeting. In this way, a takeover, or any interference is excluded by large investors. By his own admission, the cooperative explicitly does not pursue the goal of maximizing profits.

From the border of 1,500 members occurs a representative assembly in place of the General Assembly. Fifty elected representatives of the members then represent the rights of the members. Since Greenpeace Energy has significantly more members every four years, representatives are elected (the last election was 2009). The selection of representatives is made by a selection committee. The tasks of Representatives correspond according to cooperative law duties of the General Assembly: members can vote on motions, select the Supervisory Board and the Management Board or released and vote on their workload, and decide on the distribution of any surplus.

Greenpeace criteria for clean energy[edit]

Greenpeace Energy works on the basis of the "Greenpeace criteria for clean energy." The determination of these criteria was carried out by the Greenpeace e. V., an adaptation to the market conditions was last held in January 2008.


  • Waiver of electricity from nuclear power and coal
  • Carbon dioxide emissions must not exceed 135 g / kWh
  • At least 50% renewable energy sources (wind power, biomass, hydro, photovoltaic and geothermal)
  • A maximum of 50% of cogeneration plants (natural gas with overall efficiency of at least 80%)

At present (2013) only power is obtained from renewable sources (see Greenpeace Energy # mix).

Consumption adjusted supply[edit]

The current is injected at any time in accordance with consumption. This ensures that the supply from Greenpeace Energy matches the customer demand at any time, without electricity from nuclear or coal power plants (excluding distribution losses). For the simultaneous supply, a reserve amount of electricity must always be maintained in order to compensate for the loss of some distribution. (For details, see the section #Zeitgleiche feed)

Construction of new plants[edit]

Each year, the drawn current amount of connected clients since last year is determined. This amount must be supplied no later than the fifth subsequent year of new investments into the German power grid, which are not older than five years or for which construction has initiated the power company. This more current is produced in an environmentally friendly way, which one of the main points is that makes the transition to a real green electricity provider sensible of also applying this criterion.

Subsidization of photovoltaics[edit]

Until the last adaptation of the "Greenpeace criteria for clean electricity" from 1 January 2008 saw them before that Greenpeace Energy refer within five years at least 1% of the electricity sold from photovoltaic systems or from newly built photovoltaic plants had to feed into the grid, which also here the subsidized rates were allowed to be taken, according to the Renewable Energy Sources Act. Due to the development of photovoltaic industry, it was decided in the light of the highly successful Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) that an additional promotion of photovoltaics is required by a purchase of solar power is no longer deleted and the corresponding criterion.


The overall concept of the energy supplier shall be so designed that even large amounts of demand can be operated over the long term.

Transparency and consumer protection[edit]

Important points of the criteria are to be monitored by independent experts. These include:

  • Review of the current origin and compliance with the criteria for the electricity mix
  • Simultaneous current feed
  • Compliance with the maximum emission values
  • Compliance with the new obligation