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Abstract: Energy cooperatives (EC) are an increasingly important player for the transformation processes of current energy systems towards sustainability and decentralization in Germany. In 2012 approximately 750 EC existed which mostly produce wind and solar energy. The democratic organisation of EC, related to the source of their financial assets, makes them a special actor for creating public acceptance for system transformations in energy turns. Being a member of energy cooperatives or even a user of its services may alter one’s quality of life. Following the Human Scale Development Approach (HSDA) of Manfred Max-Neef (Max-Neef 1991), the paper carves out the motivations for pro-social behaviour of members of EC and reflects on the feasibility of the HSDA as a tool to support local initiatives and pioneers on a transformative path in industrialized countries. Therefore the paper first describes particularities of German EC. It then describes the HSDA which is to be applied in 6 German EC. Finally, it discusses the advantages and limitations of this approach.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Realizing needs and a high quality of life in a degrowth society” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.