Legislation

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Shared Community Ownership

of Renewable Energy systems

All about shared community ownership under the Community Energy Strategy's voluntary protocol

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Legislation for Shared Community Ownership

Voluntary protocol

The intention of government and the Taskforce is that the shared ownership objectives in the Community Energy Strategy will be adopted voluntarily by developers and communities.

The Voluntary Protocol has been drawn up on that basis.

Back-stop legislative powers

To confirm its commitment to the shared ownership agenda, the government has prepared backstop legislation to be implemented in case the voluntary protocol is not sufficiently widely adopted.

Like most regulation in the energy sector, this requires two stages: The primary legislation is an ‘enabling power’ authorising the Secretary of State to bring forward secondary legislation. The latter would take the form of a statutory instrument detailing how the regulations would operate in practice.

The enabling power was included in the Infrastructure Bill 2014/15 in a provision called the ‘Community Electricity Right’. The government briefing is available here, with a more detailed briefing for the House of Lords here. This gained royal assent in February as the Infrastructure Act 2015.

However, the Community Electricity Right does not become binding in law until the secondary legislation has been consulted on and accepted by parliament. The government does not intend to go through this second step unless it is not satisfied by 2015 (or such later date as it may decide) that the voluntary protocol is effective.