Community benefits

Community benefit payments can be a valuable source of income for communities located near to renewable energy developments.

The Scottish Government sets the expectation in the Scottish Energy Strategy that developers should continue to offer meaningful community benefits in line with the Good Practice Principles. 

In the Good Practice Principles the Scottish Government recommends a community benefit package for onshore wind developments with a value to the equivalent of at least £5,000 per installed megawatt per annum, index-linked for the operational lifetime of the project and suggests that other onshore technologies should aspire to this level.

Benefiting from renewable energy projects

It can be challenging for communities to secure, set up and manage funds or other benefits from renewable energy schemes - be these commercially owned, shared ownership or wholly-owned by the community. 

The process can involve working with developers to reach agreement or deciding how an annual fund can be structured to ensure the maximum impact for your community. 

Local Energy Scotland provides advice and support to help make the process more manageable and effective for all. We offer: 

  • an enablement grant of up to £25k to help community groups identify the needs and aspirations of their community, or support the securing and setting up community funds from renewables;
  • initial advice from our Development Officers for groups to help them identify and explore issues around community funds;
  • Case studies to help pass on lessons learnt from previous projects;
  • a community fund toolkit is in development to help guide groups through the process; 
  • help to draw up your community benefit fund agreement, including a downloadable template.
  • frameworks of contractors which can help with:
    • Community Profiles and Action Planning - To enable communities to maximise the impact from community benefit funds or identify local energy opportunities the Supplier will undertake desk based research and community consultation activities to develop publically available community profiles and action plans.
    • Supporting Community Responses to Energy and Income Opportunities - The Supplier will work with, and build capacity within, communities to help them respond effectively to new energy and income opportunities. The Supplier will also work with relevant stakeholders to identify and engage with the community that will benefit from the energy/ income opportunity.
    • Facilitating Consensus on Community Fund Governance and Strategy - The Supplier will help communities by assisting them to build consensus on the appropriate governance structures, negotiate on formal agreements and adopt appropriate community strategies (eg for fund distribution). 

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