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Focus on energy cooperatives

Interview with Abbes Kalmes President of TMEnerCoop S.C

  • What is an energy co-operative?

It’s a group of people who come together to pursue a social project that produces goods and/or services. In this case, we’re talking about the production, and soon the sharing, of renewable energy.

  • What are the advantages of becoming a cooperative as opposed to installing individual solar panels?

You can do both, but investing in a cooperative allows you to make a collective investment that is just as effective but less costly than the sum of individual projects.

  • What is the national interest in developing energy co-ops across the country, and what are the obstacles?

The idea is to develop communities of citizens who can meet their own energy needs (production and sharing). In this way, they are contributing to energy independence and democratising the means of production. The main obstacles are the lack of knowledge and the fears of some politicians about the potential benefits of citizen communities.

  • Can I become a TM EnerCoop cooperator?

Any individual who applies for membership and shares the values defined in our Articles of Association can become a member. We also have a number of non-profit organisations and a foundation among our members, and will be accepting municipalities in the future.

You can apply for membership via our website

Interview by Sébastien Kanarek and Eric Lavillunière

  • Created in September 2013 by 12 founding members
  • It now has 239 members
  • There are 11 installations in 6 municipalities
  • Total output 500 kWp (including 200 kWp in Esch/Alzette)
  • Annual production forecast for 2024: ± 450,000kWh, equivalent to the annual consumption of members (± 1875 kWh / person / year)
  • Under development: 1 project with an output of 300 kWp

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Climate (in)justice

When we talk about climate change, we quickly conjure up images of drought and flooding in Africa or Asia, with their disastrous consequences for local populations and harvests. But they also exist in our latitudes.

July 2021. The Alzette turned into a fury and floods everything in its path. In Germany and Belgium, the consequences were dramatic, with almost 200 deaths. Hills collapsed, destroying roads, towns and infrastructure. In stark contrast, the following summer was very hot (the 2nd hottest since records began in 1838) and the driest since 1921**.

Whether on the scale of North-South comparison or that of a single Luxembourg municipality, these phenomena highlight the immense problem of climate injustice. Age, gender, state of health or finances, geographic or professional situation mean that there is inequality when it comes to climate change.

The UN’s stance on climate justice as follows: “Equity and human rights are at the heart of decision-making and action on climate change***”.

From this perspective, including citizens in decision-making process is essential, given equal voice to express their needs so that the decisions taken exclude no-one and are location appropriate. Politicians must also understand the urgency of the situation and assume their responsibilities. Finally, raising public awareness is another factor that can ensure climate justice.

The Iroquois had a way of doing things that we could perhaps learn from. In the tribal council, one person had the task of defending the interests of the 7 generations to come in terms of the impact that each decision would potentially have on them. We are talking about active thinking, in the long term and not just in the short term, on the interests of future generations. This is what we are doing in the transition movement, with the participation of citizens.





Long live cycling!

The transportation sector accounts for almost 60% of CO2 emissions in Luxembourg, compared with only 30% for our neighbours. This is partly due to the strong attachment to personal cars (700 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, 1st place in Europe). What’s more, half of all journeys of less than 5km are made by car!

A fundamental method for reducing the supremacy of cars is to rethink our cities.

Gent, for example has redesigned it’s motorised traffic system into sections that are inaccessible to each other, at the same time, they developed a strong system of park-and-ride facilities, improving public transport and creating an interconnected cycle network, among others. And the results are very positive, motorised traffic has fallen by 20%!

The City of Esch intends to do the same with its new mobility plan, unveiled last year.

The best alternative to the car in town remains the bicycle and its offshoot the cargo bikes that are starting to appear everywhere.

A bike centre should soon be opening in Esch-sur-Alzette too. You’ll be able to drop in to maintain or repair your bike, test out accessories or find the best routes for your cycling trips!


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Food: choose change!

The agricultural production sector is one of the main emitters of greenhouse gases. More than ever, it is important to turn to local, planet-friendly agricultural production. Guaranteeing the human right to food, as well as the right of farmers to live in dignity (see international agreements signed by Luxembourg), is also crucial.

In Luxembourg, only 5% of the fruit and vegetables consumed are local (1). In 2023, only 6% of productive land was farmed organically (2).

In Esch-sur-Alzette, the town’s mainly urban and industrial structures have made cultivating land a particularly difficult challenge. There are some interesting local production initiatives, such as urban gardening, honey production and organic market gardening by CIGL Esch. However, access to healthy, local food that respects farmers and the planet remains a major challenge for local policies with regards to adapting to climate change.

Choosing to give priority to organic and local produce when making personal purchases can help to increase demand for these products. However, more ambitious policies on this subject would improve things further still. For example, encouraging and promoting self-production by households, which is already important in the South (3).

For public institutions, encouraging the use of peasant seeds (not to be confused with ancient seeds), co-sponsoring projects to develop a green belt in the south of Luxembourg, and encouraging the development of local grocery shops and groups for the maintenance of peasant agriculture, in order to develop the supply chain.

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A ‘hot’ year in Esch!

Projet Metzeschmelz, © Agora

2023 was the hottest year on record, and at the beginning of 2024 the planet exceeded 1.5°C for the first time in 12 consecutive months (1). Since the main factor in global warming is the accumulation of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), all the climate agreements aim to reduce them drastically and as quickly as possible. An initial deadline has been set for 2030 in Luxembourg, to reduce emissions by 55% compared with 2005.

At municipal level, it’s the “Climate Pact 2.0” (2) tool that guides climate policy, encouraging municipalities to reduce their GHG emissions and make efforts to adapt to climate change. The town of Esch plans to present its adaptation measures at the Second Assises Climat that is being organised this year, at the end of April.

For example, in the future district of Metzeschmelz, the urban design will focus on nature and human needs: recovery and reuse of waste water, creation of large green spaces adapted to the future climate, low-carbon rehabilitation and design of buildings, development of cycle paths and footpaths, good public transport links, etc.

To find out about all the measures planned, an exhibition will be on display from the end of March until the Climate Conference in the Town Hall Square. We invite you to join us at the end of May – during the Citizen Forum – to begin a dialogue with the City of Esch on the impact of all these adaptations on the daily lives of residents and their implementation in all neighbourhoods.

Finally, the Citizen Collective for the Climate will be holding its Festival of Citizens’ Initiatives for Transition in Esch-sur-Alzette at the end of June. It’s a great opportunity to get together, as we like to do at Transition Minett, and demonstrate that citizen action is possible in all areas, as well as to encourage more and more people to join our movement!


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Adapting without surrendering …. It can be done!

The Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 was a historic celebration! It was the first time, in more than thirty years of climate conferences, that the world community managed to agree on an ambitious and above all binding objective: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels (1).

However, Greenhouse Gas(GHG) emissions have continued to rise since the COP, reaching a new all-time high in 2023. Scientists now believe that this trajectory of growth in GHG’s is unsustainable, and above all that it is no longer possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2).

The result is that climate change is accelerating at record speed, and the consequences are being felt more and more: heatwaves, forest fires, droughts, heavy rainfall, floods, loss of biodiversity, reduced agricultural yields, etc.

So we need to prepare for, and above all, adapt to climate change because we won’t be able to stop it. But we’ll always be able to mitigate it, now isn’t the time to bury our heads in the sand!

It will not be enough to blindly trust technological progress or to only consume “green”. To have a real impact, we must strengthen the fight against the causes of climate change and, above all, not be afraid to face reality.

The reality is that we’ll have to adapt and reduce our consumption habits – and it can be done! For example, young people who drive less and less, who eat less and less meat and who wear second-hand clothes, etc.

The reality is that we are also going to have to get rid of fossil and nuclear fuels – and it can be done! For example Austria, who today covers 2/3 of its energy needs with renewable energies (3).

Finally, the reality is that we will also have to give up the linear economy – and it’s doable! Esch-sur-Alzette, for example, and its many actors who’ve been working for years on projects that engage the logic of the circular and sharing economy. On the public side : the City of Esch directly, the SIVEC resource center, etc. And on the civil society side : Transition Minett, CIGL Esch, the Formida Center, FerroForum etc.

Proof that we can adapt without capitulating, for and with people, at all levels of society!

Eric Weirich

with the support of Eric Lavillunière


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12 minutes

In Luxembourg, but also in most other European countries, that’s the average length of use of a new drill over its lifetime! Twelve minutes. For most of them, that’s the time it takes to fix to the wall the shelf on which… you’re going to leave the drill for the rest of its life!And it’s the same to most new tools sold in DIY stores, or in supermarkets that offer power tools, usually battery-powered, at extremely low prices.

Bearing this in mind, and given the enormous waste of resources this represents, Facilitec, in partnership with Ëmweltberodung Lëtzebuerg asbl (EBL), launched Luxembourg’s first used tool lending point – Gutt Geschier – in January 2023.

Conceived by EBL, the principle behind Gutt Geschier is simple: collect tools that are no longer used by their owners, but are still in working condition, and give them a second life by lending them free of charge.

Since January, no fewer than 130 tools of all kinds (manual, electric, workshop, garden, etc.) have been collected and made available to everyone at Facilitec’s participative workshop. They come either from the SIVEC recycling center, or from private individuals or local businesses, and all have in common the fact that they are no longer in use, even though they are still usable.

To date, over 200 people have registered on the website, and as many tools have been borrowed. The impact of the initiative is beginning to be felt in a modest way. Over a 10-month period, Gutt Geschier users have not purchased a dozen new tools.

The success of the initiative means that new lending points will soon be opening. The first will be located at Bildungszenter Matgesfeld in Belvaux, and will specialize in gardening equipment. In addition, a number of organizations have expressed interest in setting up other lending points in Luxembourg. The relay of users is important to encourage other players, associations or local authorities to consider similar initiatives. So don’t hesitate to spread the word.

Finally, Transition Minett is preparing to extend the concept to the food sector and more. A library of kitchen objects is currently being set up, and will soon enable you to borrow a raclette machine, a food processor or a plancha for a special event, without having to buy a new one that will only be used a few times in its lifetime…

Fewer new appliances purchased means fewer resources consumed for a short-term use.

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EDITORIAL: food is a human right!

“Social protection and the right to food are essential to building successful, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems that leave no one behind. ”

This is how the FAO describes the right to food, but today this right is unfortunately violated in many ways.

Our society has turned this human right from a necessity into a commodity: Indeed, supermarkets are no longer places to buy food, but to sell products according to a capitalist logic, where the goal is to produce as much as possible while spending as little as possible. This opens the door to the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and GMOs, which are sources of pollution for water, land, air and which kill biodiversity.

This logic respects neither human nutritional needs, the rights of the workers producing these goods, nor the environment. We must say it loud and clear: Access to healthy, quality food produced with respect for humans and the environment is a right, like water and air. Food can never be simpely a commodity.

If to eat well, my food must be organic, without pesticides, without chemical fertilizers and without GMOs, then we should not have the right to produce in conditions that do not respect humans and the planet.

We must therefore change our logic and put the right to healthy, quality food back at the heart of our society, in a system that respects humans and the environment.

You will ask, ‘What can we do as citizens to move in this direction?’

  • First, demand the right to healthy, quality food, which is recognized as a universal right.
  • Make sure that this right is a right and not a privilege, by making this food accessible to the whole population.
  • Buy and support organic, local and seasonal food production and producers who respect workers’ rights.

An example of actions along these lines is the organization of food cooperatives, like Mesa in Esch with the cooperative KiloMinett0. It supports a dialogue between consumers and local producers. Mesa also offers a café/restaurant with organic, local, vegetarian and seasonal food at reasonable prices. Finally, it is also a grocery store selling local organic products in bulk.

We believe in an ecological transition that is inclusive, supportive and fair, and we are doing everything possible to make this a reality in Esch, with and for the citizens.

Adriana Cardoso and Yasmin Labidi


BTW: do you know what the MESA is?

In the center of Esch, a stone’s throw away from the rue de l’Alzette, MESA is a third place dedicated to the ecological transition and more specifically to projects around food. Created and installed in 2016, thhe KM0 food cooperative, which manages thhe restaurant/vegetarian café and the bulk, organic and local grocer store.

  • in the restaurant you can taste good vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well ass gluten-free and vegan cakes and desserts;
  • at the grocery store you will find fresh and seasonal vegetables every week.

The grocery store also offers dairy products (eggs, butter, chesse), canned food, oils, fruit juice, wines, beer and dry goods in bulk.

MESA is also a place for initiative and the development of citizen projects, which regularly welcomes other non-profit organizations and informal groups for themed evenings, workshops and shared meals. The back of the building – the garage – has an associative kitchen and a meeting/workshop room. Come and meet us, have a coffee, do your shopping and discover this multi-faceted place committed to sustainable food in Esch.

  • Address: 1 rue du moulin L-4251 Esch/Alzette
  • Opening hours: Monday 8h-15h30 / Tuesday-Friday 8h-19h / Saturday 11h-16h

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Now launching baskets!

Baskets of fresh and dry products, organic, local, in bulk, at reasonable prices, all delivered to your home.

Did you know it was possible? For a few months now, the Km0 Cooperative (MESA) has been testing and developing a project to deliver dry and fresh products directly to individuals or to collective withdrawal points.

After subscribing, it will be possible to receive a weekly assortment of vegetables, dairy products and eggs, all organic and local, including a monthly delivery of dry products, mostly in bulk. Several subscription sizes are being tested for families, 2 people or single individuals.

Have you always dreamed of having easy access to organic, local, bulk products? If you want to join the project, write to An information and integration meeting for new members will be organized soon.