Energy symposium in Freistadt


On the 5th of April 2024 the Freistadt Energy Symposium organised by the OurPower energy cooperative and the pioneer Energiebezirk Freistadt (EBF) took place in Freistadt as part of the SHAREs project.

The symposium brought together experts and pioneers of citizen energy from Austria and other EU countries. 140 people attended the event at Salzhof Freistadt. The importance of regional energy transition strategies, success stories of cooperatives, international best practice examples and the model of a planned regional cooperative as a model for the future were presented. The speakers highlighted various aspects of the energy transition, including the expansion of renewable energy, the importance of spatial energy planning and social innovations in connection with the energy transition. Furthermore, the speakers emphasised the need for integrative planning that considers the interests of people and the various stakeholders in the region.

The presentations demonstated different approaches and roles of cooperatives in the energy transition. Natascha Fenz presented the OurPower energy cooperative and its peer-to-peer marketplace. Norman Eichinger from Raiffeisen Revisionsverband OÖ, Rafael Bramreiter from the energy cooperative Weiz and Rafael Bramreiter from the Braucommune Freistadt shared their success stories with the audience. They emphasised the stability and profitability of cooperatives as well as the direct benefits for their members and the regional community.

In the concluding discussion, it became clear that a regional energy cooperative is a promising model for the future. Stakeholders such as David Bergsmann (Mayor of Hagenberg), Klaus Pichlbauer (Managing Director of Innovametall) and Norbert Miesenberger (Managing Director of Energiebezirk Freistadt) emphasised the importance of cooperation and encouraged the participants to take an active part in the energy transition. The energy symposium ended with an informal exchange and left the participants with the knowledge that citizens are needed for a successful energy system transformation and that everyone is invited to participate in the Freistadt model.