In Belgium, cities in the Flanders region are stating a preference for citizen-owned energy supply in their tenders. Eeklo’s local authority required a 100% renewable energy target and a minimum of 30% citizen ownership for a new district heating network.
Eeklo has also broken down barriers to citizen ownership of a wind farm, providing 750 people with a pre-financed share of the citizen energy co-operative Ecopower based on the local authority’s 25% ownership of one wind turbine. These shares are specifically for people in energy poverty (particularly if they are paying high prices for electricity). This gives them the advantages of being a full member of the co-operative, enabling them to use electricity at cost, lowering energy bills and enabling them to pay off debts related to energy.