THE first-ever legal roadmap to support community owned renewable energy projects has been unveiled by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, to help communities across Warrington harness the environmental and socio-economic benefits.
The ‘Legal Structures for Community Energy Projects’ report provides invaluable guidance to local groups who are committed to harnessing the power of renewable energy to create lasting change across their communities.
Gary Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, comments: “Community owned energy projects have huge potential. They can support the regeneration of former coalfields, and in partnership with local authorities environmentally friendly areas can be promoted and developed for local residents. But, this can only be achieved if carried out with sound governance.
“These schemes can take many legal forms; they are diverse and complex, so choosing the correct structure can be complicated. The challenge, at present, is that there is little if any, guidance available. By commissioning industry experts to create comparisons on the legal structures for community renewable energy projects, we are providing a vital and valuable resource that is easy to access through our website.”
Recognising the urgent need, The Coalfields Regeneration Trust commissioned Wrigleys Solicitors, who are leading advisors to the charitable and social sectors, to provide a comprehensive roadmap to navigate the legalities.
The ‘Legal Structures for Community Energy Projects’ report identifies the different forms of legal structures, presents a detailed analysis of their unique features and examines each of the structure’s advantages and disadvantages when used for community energy projects.
Gary continued: “There is significant demand for communities to work collaboratively with local authorities to launch alternative ways of generating financial support. The advantages is that the returns can then be put back into helping rejuvenate former mining communities.
“Once the power and control of these renewable energy projects are successfully transferred to local residents, they will be provided with access to affordable clean energy and have the opportunity to generate surplus income. Fundamentally, these funds can then be reinvested back into the communities, which can be used to protect local assets and services.”
He added: “Developing long-lasting partnerships with community owned businesses sits at the core of what we do, especially when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our local residents. We believe that community owned renewable energy projects can be a major catalyst in helping improve the way of life for many people within this area. We will continue to provide the support needed to make them a reality.”
Established in 1999, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is the only organisation dedicated to supporting former mining towns and villages.
Over the years it has helped more than 2m people. More than 25,500 people have been supported into work, 5,500 jobs have been created or safeguarded, 1.3m people have received the necessary support to help improve their skills and gain qualifications and over 250,000 people have participated in activities that have improve their health.
To access a copy of the report, ‘Legal Structures for Community Energy Projects’, please visit: https://www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Legal-Structures-for-Community-Owned-Renewable-Energy-Projects-English.pdf