Working group member Anniek Russel-Veefkind and project supervisor Maurice Ramaker took part in the conference on behalf of DWE. After the plenary opening there were options to choose from two sessions. The first session we participated in was “Energy cooperatives as accelerators of the energy transition”. It became clear to us that Betuwewind could potentially be a good partner for the energy transition in Enspijk.

In the second session we opted for “Energy and poverty”: sliding boxes (save parcels) or really tackling the problem, such as the Moerwijk case in The Hague. In this session, especially aimed at the civil servants sitting in the room, it was emphasized once again that the municipality should not want to offer a ready-made solution. Municipalities will first have to enter into a dialogue with the inhabitants of a village or district, so that an equal partnership for the long term can be established, for example through a district or village representation, which is lower threshold.

Afterwards, Anniek took part in a panel discussion on behalf of DWE. First a case from Woerden was discussed, followed by a short reflection. Then our project in Enspijk was discussed.

Fortunately, we had received the questions about ‘Initiative of residents of Enspijk to establish at a heat network based on aquathermia, water from the Linge’ beforehand: 1. How did that initiative come about? How did you come up with the idea? 2. what role does the municipality play in your initiative? 3. what role does the Rivierenland area cooperative play? 4. Who or what has been the most supportive so far and why? And what has been the least supportive and why? 5. What do you need from the government as a citizens’ initiative? And what not? Anniek was able to give a very concrete ‘wish list’.

Questions to the other panel members: Dennis Kerkhoven, area cooperative: which hurdles did you see that the residents of Enspijk had to take? And do you see those bumps more often, also in other initiatives? And what are often recurring obstacles to start-up initiatives? And what solutions are needed for this? Reflection question for Djoera Eerland of Buurkracht: What strikes you in this story? Have you heard of known issues that you hear more often with these types of initiatives? What should be the solution? Question to the reflection panel: How can governments support start-up initiatives? What should they start with tomorrow? And what should they stop doing tomorrow?

Afterwards, Anniek received very nice reactions and a number of people came to make contact. All in all an energizing day!

A retrospective and reports of the congress can be found on the website of NP RES