Community Energy: More Women, More Success

In nationwide active community energy entities, the proportion of women is 29 percent, a slight increase against 20 percent found a few years ago. This result comes from a study with which WWEA and State Association for Renewable Energies NRW (LEE NRW) are examining the situation of women in decentralized energy initiatives in North Rhine-Westphalia.

July 12, 2021. By Manu Tayal

Above all, women like Greta Thunberg or Luisa Neubauer, as initiators of the Fridays for Future movement, have given important impetus to climate protection in the past months and years. Such a high participation of women in the community energy in North Rhine-Westphalia is not yet widely visible. 

In the nationwide active community energy entities, the proportion of women is 29 percent, a slight increase compared to the 20 percent found a few years ago. This result comes from a study with which the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and the State Association for Renewable Energies NRW (LEE NRW) are examining the situation of women in decentralized energy initiatives in North Rhine-Westphalia. 

"We are happy that more women have recently become involved in community energy," said Claudia Gellert, Deputy Chairwoman of the LEE NRW, commenting on the results. For the LEE NRW, community energy groups with their local roots are “indispensable drivers for the restructuring of the energy world”, says Gellert. "In these initiatives we need significantly more women with their life experiences, ideas and know-how in order to put the energy transition on a broader footing in society." 

As the study shows, it is primarily the factors of time and available capital that prevent women from becoming more involved in community energy. Another finding: Perceptible female role models and addressing women in their real world are promising starting points for attracting more women. 

In North Rhine-Westphalia, more women are already involved in community energy projects than in Japan, where women hold around 20 percent of the shares. The LEE NRW and WWEA examined the situation in selected regions of the East Asian island state as a benchmark. 

“Community energy is an important driver for the energy transition in many countries and needs a broad social base. We are pleased to see progress in women's engagement for community energy. The results of the study therefore motivate us to step up our activities on this topic,” emphasizes WWEA Secretary General Stefan Gsänger. 

With over 600 member organizations in over 100 countries, WWEA has been committed to the expansion of wind energy for over 20 years. In the second phase of the joint study, the LEE NRW and WWEA want to develop recommendations based on previous findings on how more women can be attracted to join community energy initiatives and how community energy entities can implement this accordingly. 

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