A Study on the Factors Affecting the Satisfaction of Participation in Renewable Energy Source Cooperatives; Germany and Korea Case Study

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Yoonmie SOH, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Currently the financial crisis and various social problems are arising due to market fundamentalism. As an alternative model to the existing economic order, a social enterprise that links "social economy" and "regional development" has been proposed since the late 2000s. Social enterprises seek to solve diverse social problems in profitable activities in the blind spot where government, administrative agencies and markets cannot cope. Cooperative is one of the various types of social enterprise. Participating in cooperatives does not denote donating a small amount of money but instead it refers to investing a certain amount of money, voting on the operations of the company, and getting dividends when profits are generated. However, the perception that citizens directly participate in the generation of electricity through renewable energy sources in Korea is still poor. This study examines what factors are important for the successful operation of the renewable energy cooperatives, which are increasing every year under energy transition in Germany and two successful cooperatives in Korea. The study aims to do this through an empirical study focused on the governance aspect where governments, cooperations and civil societies interact.

The research design is based on a comparative case study in two countries, utilizing a questionnaire-based study. The implications of this study are presented by empirically analyzing the factors affecting the satisfaction of the cooperative.

The results of the survey show that the method of operation and investment profitability of the energy cooperative were significant factors affecting participation satisfaction as seen through multiple regression analysis not only from Germany but also Korea. This means that the energy cooperatives operate more transparently and democratically, and the more they meet their profits, the higher the satisfaction gained by their members. The cooperative is a form of corporation, but its public characteristics play an important role.