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by António Veiga

Coopérnico – Assemblies and Commemorations
by António Veiga

by António Veiga

Saturday 9th December 2023.

On Saturday, 25 November 2023, the Coopérnico Cooperative held its Electoral Assembly to vote in the executive organs for the coming 4 years, followed straight afterwards by an Extraordinary General Assembly, to discuss and approve the planned activities and budget for 2024. That day was also particularly significant as the cooperative was celebrating 10 years of life.

After the electoral act, when the participants went to the auditorium, there was a particularly emotional moment with the send-off of Nuno Brito Jorge, President of the board since the beginning. Living in Barcelona for the past three years, Nuno had been managing the cooperative remotely for the past few years. This absence is due to professional reasons, but maybe also personal ones, given that his wife is Catalan. This operational difficulty, together with his stepping down, even though maintaining a role in the consultation council, led him to remember and to pay homage to all those who most dedicated themselves to Coopérnico in the ten years of its life.

As was ascertained, the founding group remains united, incorporating over time more active members. At the moment, Coopérnico has 11 people working for it, across various departments, while the majority also cover commercial issues, bearing in mind the current moment in the market where many people joined the cooperative, due to the price at the time, without knowing much of the orienting principles. One of the things discussed in this Assembly was that one of the urgent missions is to turn these cooperative members who at the moment are merely economic ones into active members.

Another important aspect was that, despite Coopérnico’s growing activity, 70% of the human resources costs are supported by European Community funds. In a general way it can be said that the cooperative is currently in a phase of diversification and growth, where the task of finding new members is arduous as there appears to be a ratio of 8:1 between proposals presented and finalised contracts.

 

Before the work kicked off we had the chance to chat with Miguel Almeida, founding member of Coopérnico and someone who has accompanied the cooperative’s entire journey.

Question: What has been the most difficult moment in the 10 years of Coopérnico’s existence?

That was without a doubt in October 2021, when energy prices went up significantly for us and on the other hand we had fixed-value contracts with our customers that led us to even ask customers to leave us, as we wouldn’t be able to support the costs. This insecurity of not knowing if we’d be able to carry the shock lasted for a few weeks.

Question: What do you think of the Decree-Law 162/2019? (the law creating the juridical regime of self-consumption, having established the modality of collective self-consumption and renewable energy communities)

The law corresponds to the implementation of European Commission regulations into Portuguese law. For me, the main problem of the law is to do, most of all, with the reading of the shared consumptions, where the specification envisaged in the law does not permit dividing up the collective consumption by consumer in a detailed enough way, which meant that in some cases periods of non-consumption were charged, putting some consumers at a disadvantage compared with others.

 

Uwe Heitkamp (64)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations: Dina Adão, John Elliot, Ruth Correia, Patrícia Lara, Kathleen Becker
Photos:

 

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