FAQ

Got a question about wind energy, hydrogen or Eoly Cooperation?  You might find the answer below.

 

Who can buy Eoly Cooperative shares?

Both private individuals and legal entities can buy shares. 

Can I buy shares at any time?

Yes. Our capital increases consist of two different phases. Firstly, there is a priority period during which local residents (selected according to postcode) get to buy shares. After that period, other interested parties also get the opportunity to invest, until the capital target has been reached. 

How much does a share cost?

The nominal value of a share is €250. Each year, the share premium is also determined. This is done based on Eoly Cooperative’s level of equity. The exact value of the share premium is published whenever a capital increase is organised. When you purchase shares in the cooperation, you pay the nominal value of each share plus the share premium. This ensures that the entry fee is proportion to the cooperative’s current value. If you decide to sell you shares at a later date, you do so at the actual share price at that time. 

How many shares can I buy?

Each member-owner can buy up to a maximum of 20 shares. 

Can several members of the same family each buy shares?

Yes, they can. Each family member (including young children) can own up to 20 shares. 

Is there a guaranteed return?

Eoly Cooperative does not guarantee a minimum return. In line with current legislation, the annual dividend may not exceed 6% per share. 

Who decides whether or not a dividend is paid out?

The member-owners approve the past year’s financial results at the annual General Assembly. They then also vote on whether or not to pay out any dividend, as well as its exact amount. Before any dividend can be paid out, a percentage of the profits must be allocated to the legal reserve. 

I am already a member-owner. Can I purchase shares in multiple projects?

Yes, you can. As long as you do not yet own the regulated maximum of 20 shares per member-owner, you are welcome to invest in one or more projects. 

How much of a say do I have as a member-owner?

Regardless of the number of shares they own, every member-owner has the right to vote at the annual General Assembly. This includes the right to appoint the cooperative’s directors and vote on how its profits should be used. 

Can I purchase electricity generated by the cooperative’s wind turbines?

DATS24 is responsible for electricity provision. You can read more about DATS24 here. 

Can I transfer my shares to another member-owner or a third party?

Yes, you can. Click here to download information on how to transfer your shares. In the event of a member-owner’s death, the heir(s) can choose to either adopt the shares themselves or to have the value of the shares reimbursed. 

How can I exit the cooperative?

As a member-owner (*), you can submit an exit request or a request for the company to partially repurchase your shares. By law, such a request needs to be submitted during the first six months of the fiscal year (which equals a calendar year) for an exit to be able to take place during that same fiscal year. In practice, this means that exit requests need to be submitted between 1 January and 30 June. To submit an exit request to the Board of Directors, send it to Eoly Cooperative’s registered office (Edingensesteenweg 196, 1500 Halle, Belgium) by registered mail.(*) According to the law ‘Tot wijziging van verscheidene wetsbepalingen inzake de voogdij over Minderjarigen’ (‘Amendment of Several Legal Provisions Pertaining to the Guardianship of Minors’) of 29 April 2001, parents wishing to sell moveable assets owned by their child must first obtain authorisation from the Justice of the Peace. Shares in the cooperative officially owned by a minor are considered moveable assets and are therefore covered by this law. If shares are in the name of a minor, the minor can only exit the cooperative once the Justice of the Peace has authorised this. Authorisation can be requested by submitting a petition to the registry of the Justice of the Peace of the judicial canton the minor resides in. A registration fee of €27 must be paid upon submission of a petition. The Justice of the Peace will grant authorisation if they are of the opinion that the request is in the best interests of the minor. As a result, any parent(s) submitting a request for authorisation need(s) to cite the reason(s) why they wish to sell the minor’s moveable assets. The request also needs to demonstrate that the sale would be in the minor's best interests. 

Do I need to pay withholding tax on dividends I receive as a private member-owner?

Up until the end of 2017, dividends on cooperative shares were exempt from taxes up to an amount of €190 per taxpayer per year. During the 2018 income year, member-owners do not have to pay withholding tax on a first dividend tranche of up to €640 (sum of dividends from shares in Belgian and foreign companies). This exemption can be claimed via your personal income tax. In practice, Eoly Cooperative declares the dividend before distributing it as a net sum, minus 30% withholding tax. The deducted withholding tax can be recuperated by declaring it in your tax return as long as the maximum exemption amount of €640 has not been exceeded. From the 2019 income year onwards, the maximum exemption amount shall be raised to €800. 

Are my shares subject to securities taxation?

Cooperative shares are not subject to securities tax. Shares in cooperative companies are registered in the name of the shareholder, so there is no need to take them into consideration should you also own a securities account. 

Are minor member-owners taxed on dividends they receive?

Parents enjoy legal rights over the moveable income of their children. In most cases, the parents will therefore need to declare the dividends in their own tax return. If there are two parents, both will need to add half of the dividends of each minor to the dividends they themselves have received. If only one parent has legal rights over the children’s income, they alone will need to declare the minors’ dividends in their tax return. 

Do legal entities enjoy the same tax exemption private member-owners enjoy?

No. Legal entities are not exempt from withholding tax. Just like with private member-owners, Eoly Cooperative declares the dividend before distributing it as a net sum, minus 30% withholding tax. The deducted withholding tax is paid to the state and cannot be recuperated. 

I am unable to attend the General Assembly. Can I delegate my voting power to someone else?

Yes, provided that person is a member-owner of Eoly Cooperative. No proxy holder may represent more than one other member-owner. During registration at the General Assembly, they will need to present a completed and signed proxy form. 

Do minor member-owners have a vote?

While minor member-owners cannot cast their vote directly, they can be represented by a parent or guardian. During registration at the General Assembly, individuals voting on their behalf will need to present a completed and signed proxy form for minors. There is no limit on the number of minors a guardian or parent may represent, meaning one individual can represent all their children at the General Assembly. 

Are people living near wind projects given priority when it comes to buying shares?

Yes. Our capital increases consist of two different phases. Firstly, there is a priority period during which local residents (selected according to postcode) get to buy shares. After that period, other interested parties also get the opportunity to invest, until the capital target has been reached. 

How do Belgians feel about wind energy?

Researchshows that the vast majority of the population (over 80%) has no issue with wind energy. A lot depends on how projects are developed, however. Do local residents get a say? Are they adequately informed? Open and transparent communication has always been a priority for Eoly Energy. Got a question regarding a project in your neighbourhood? Ask us at info@eoly.be. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Does a wind turbine take more energy to produce than it generates?

After three to eight months, onshore wind turbines produce as much electricity as their production, installation and eventual recycling requires. With these few months, we are talking peanuts, considering the 20-25 years the turbines generate electricity. What's more, newer turbines have a greater capacity, meaning that it takes less time for them to compensate for that initial electricity investment. 

Zijn windontwikkelaars geldzoekers?

Neen. Je hebt verschillende types windontwikkelaars die misschien anders te werk gaan en een andere structuur kennen. Maar de meeste windontwikkelaars willen de omslag maken naar hernieuwbare energie omdat dat de toekomst is. Een aantal daarvan werken met particuliere aandeelhouders, zoals onze Eoly Coöperatie. Wij geven omwonenden en sympathisanten inspraak in onze projecten en delen onze opbrengst met hen.

Why is wind energy so heavily subsidised?

Almost all types of energy production are subsidised. Wind energy is no exception. It is a relatively new technology, with the development of more efficient turbines is in full swing. Almost all countries offer some form of support for novel and sustainable ways of generating electricity in an energy market that is still largely dependent on fossil fuels. As wind energy technology becomes more profitable, so do public subsidies become phased out.  

Are wind turbines safe? (Formation of ice)

Wind turbines are each equipped with an ice-detection system. As soon as this system detects a potential formation of ice, the turbine is automatically switched off. When weather conditions improve, a technician first comes to check in-person whether any ice has built up on the blades. This prevents ice shedding and ice throw. 

Is wind energy the greenest form of renewable energy?

Yes, for three reasons.   Firstly, it takes just a few months for a wind turbine to generate the amount of electricity needed to produce, deliver, install and (many years later) recycle itself. From then on, all the energy the turbine produces is emissions-free. The turbine then produces green energy between 20-25 years.    Secondly, all parts of a wind turbine can be recycled, meaning that wind energy results in little to no waste. However, the blades, which are usually made from fibreglass, can only be reused as low-grade materials such as fencing and concrete fillers.     Lastly, almost no other energy technology emits as little CO2 (per kWh of generated energy) as wind turbines. Solar power, hydro power, nuclear energy and biomass power (to say nothing of fossil alternatives) all emit greater amounts of greenhouse gases.  

Why do wind turbines need to be so tall?

The taller a turbine, the more wind it will catch. A standard tall wind turbine (3MW) can easily produce 6,000MWh of electricity per year – enough to meet the electricity needs of almost 2,000 households. A medium-height (100kW) turbine only produces 179MWh, which covers the electricity needs of just 60 households. This means that it would require 33 medium-height turbines – and a lot more space – to generate the same amount of energy that one tall turbine would provide. The potential amount of energy generated is always weighed against the amount of space required. Compared with solar panels, the difference is even starker. To match the electricity production of a tall wind turbine, you would need no fewer than 100 football pitches of solar panels. Overall, wind turbines take up relatively little space given the amount of energy they produce.   

Why not simply construct turbines offshore?

Offshore turbines are a great idea. However, harnessing wind energy at sea requires huge investments in grid infrastructure to transport any generated electricity to shore, while building foundations at sea is expensive. To meet future demand for sustainable energy, we will need both onshore and offshore turbines. It is not a question of one or the other, which is why both Eoly Energy and Parkwind became part of the Virya Energy holding. While Eoly Energy delivers onshore wind energy, Parkwind provides offshore wind energy.  

Will living near a wind turbine affect the value of my property?

Residents mostly tend to worry about the value of their homes during the development phase, before the wind turbine has actually been erected. In our experience, after the installation, the worries of the people disappear.There is no scientific evidence that wind turbines negatively affects the value of nearby properties.  

Do wind turbines create a lot of shadow flicker?

On sunny days, a wind turbine's rotating blades can create a moving shadow, known as ‘shadow flicker’. Eoly always makes sure to abide by the relevant regulations in this regard. During the planning phase, we analyse which homes might experience shadow flicker. Once a turbine is activated, we monitor the exact amount of flicker each home experiences, down to the second. Flemish legislation allows for no more than 8 hours of shadow flicker per home per year, with no more than half an hour per day. The maximum under Walloon legislation is 30 hours per year and half an hour per day. 

Do wind turbines affect the landscape?

To minimise their impact on the landscape, wind turbines tend to be erected in areas of heavy activity. These include industrial areas or those surrounding ports and motorways. Of course, wind turbines generate most energy in open plots of land without any buildings. To limit their visual impact in open land, several turbines tend to be grouped together. When we construct a turbine in a more residential area, we consult with residents and local authorities to identify green initiatives we can support in the area.    Lights on wind turbines can also affect the landscape. However, these lights are often necessary to alert aircraft, thereby protecting local residents. The decision as to whether warning lights are required lies with the government. 

Do wind turbines disturb or harm birds or bats?

Years of observation in Denmark show that roughly six birds are killed by wind turbines each year. For comparison, hunters kill 1.5 million birds in Belgium each year, with traffic killing another 2 million. Naturally, we do everything we can to avoid harming any local wildlife. When we decide on a particular location, we avoid key areas where birds or bats nest, roost, rest or pass through when migrating. Should there be more accidents than first expected, we plant trees to divert any wildlife away from the wind farm.   

Will the noise generated by wind turbines affect my health?

A large number of studies have looked into the potential impact of noise on human health. None of these studies found proof that noise causes fatigue or high blood pressure. While some may have negative experiences with wind turbines, the way in which wind projects are developed likely affects neighbouring residents’ experience of any resulting noise. Want to know more?   

What are the benefits of wind energy?

Choosing wind energy means choosing clean and renewable energy. It reduces the need for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces both exploitation-related pollution and air pollution. Because wind energy is generated locally, it also makes Belgium less dependent on foreign energy giants. As such, all profits remain in our hands. It also creates green jobs within the region. All of this makes wind energy an attractive, safe investment. Want to know more? Want to know more?

Do wind turbines create noise pollution?

The amount of noise depends on the amount of background noise and wind velocity. Today’s wind turbines operate much more quietly than their predecessors. As a rule of thumb, noise pollution is practically unnoticeable as of 250 to 300 metres away from the turbine. Permit applications always include calculations of any expected noise levels. In Flanders, projects are required by law to respectregional noise limits. In Wallonia, such distances and noise limits are regulated. Concerned about any potential noise affecting your home? Contact us at info@eoly-energy.com. info@eoly-energy.com.

Can wind turbines be placed anywhere?

No. The Flemish Government has set out preconditions for all spatial planning projects, including wind farms, in its Ruimtelijk Structuurplan Vlaanderen (‘Regional Spatial Structure Plan’). These preconditions are not binding, although project developers applying for a permit need to respect the norms and rules laid down in VLAREM (‘Flemish Regulation Concerning Environmental Licensing’) and require a Flemish circular letter. You can consult Wallonia’s spatial policy framework here.