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Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub

Organisational form and legal structure

Legal structure Description

Energy cooperatives

The most common and fast-growing form of energy communities. This type of ownership primarily benefits its members. It is popular in countries where renewables and community energy are relatively advanced.

Limited partnerships

A partnership may allow individuals to distribute responsibilities and generate profits by participating in community energy. Governance is usually based on the value of each partner’s share, meaning they do not always provide for a one member - one vote.

Community trusts and foundations

Their objective is to generate social value and local development rather than profits for individual members. Profits are used for the community as a whole, even when citizens do not have the means to invest in projects (for-the-public-good companies).

Housing associations

Non-profit associations that can offer benefits to tenants in social housing, although they may not be directly involved in decision-making. These forms are ideal for addressing energy poverty.

Non-profit customer-owned enterprises

Legal structures used by communities that deal with the management of independent grid networks. Ideal for community district heating networks common in countries like Denmark.

Public-private partnerships

Local authorities can decide to enter into agreements with citizen groups and businesses in order to ensure energy provision and other benefits for a community.

Public utility company

Run by municipalities, who invest in and manage the utility on behalf of taxpayers and citizens. These forms are less common, but are particularly suited for rural or isolated areas.

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