The UK’s first guide to shared community ownership of energy generation projects has been published.
Its release comes two weeks before Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) secretary of state Ed Davey is to launch a protocol, requiring renewable energy developers to offer community participation in all substantial new projects.
“We are delighted that leading developers are embracing community ownership”, says Community Energy England (CEE) chairman Philip Wolfe. “We want to do all we can to minimise any additional delay and cost to their projects. Our guide enables local groups to prepare for shared ownership, so that developers will find suitable project-ready community partners to deal with.”
Shared ownership is one of the approaches proposed in the government’s Community Energy Strategy to boost the contribution of socially owned energy assets.
Project developers will be required to offer local communities the opportunity to buy into new renewable generation stations worth £2.5m and over.
The full details of the protocol will be in the final report, which will be launched early next month by the DECC’s taskforce of community and commercial energy experts.
It refers to four shared ownership approaches:
- Split ownership, where the generating station is divided into separate plants - one owned by the commercial developer and the other by a community organisation;
- Joint ventures, where the corporate and community partners each own a share of a single generating plant;
- Shared revenue, where the plant is developed and operated by ta commercial partner with a community group buying the right to a proportion of the project’s income; or
- Other approaches whereby community enterprises achieve a long-term ownership position in the project.
CEE is also arranging a series of regional seminars on shared community ownership.