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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

The Energy Co-op

Cooperative Journal

It isn’t common to have energy cooperatives in an urban area. What inspired the development of the Energy Co-op and why do you think it has sustained itself for forty years?

Divya Desai

The co-op was founded in 1979 by a group of Weavers Way Co-op members, which is a food co-op in the Philadelphia area created to address the high price of home heating oil that occurred during the oil embargo. While the heating oil program still stands today and is one of our services, bringing reliably affordable home heating oil to houses in the greater Philadelphia region and beyond, what actually allowed the Energy Co-op to sustain is our strive to seek opportunities and innovative solutions to address energy challenges. We entered the deregulated electricity market in the late 1990s offering a renewable electricity product, pioneering renewable electricity in the Philadelphia area. There was a time when we were not seeing any of that, it was mostly just cost competition. That program has since flourished, and we now offer only 100% renewably-sourced electricity products. One of these is a Pennsylvania local project, 100% renewable energy within the Pennsylvania commonwealth, which creates a cleaner Pennsylvania and supports the Pennsylvania economy.

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