Community benefits


What are community benefits?

Community benefits are a renewable industry led voluntary initiative to support communities and offer an opportunity for communities to work with renewable energy businesses for the long term benefit of the community.

In the Scottish Energy Strategy, its vision for the future energy system in Scotland, the Scottish Government sets the expectation that energy developers should continue to offer meaningful community benefits in line with its Good Practice Principles.

These principles recommend that community benefit packages for onshore wind developments should have a value to the equivalent of at least £5,000 per installed megawatt per annum and be index-linked for the operational lifetime of the project. In addition, they also suggest that other onshore technologies should aspire to this level.

How we can help

CARES supports communities who have been approached by commercial developers regarding community benefits packages. CARES can help with discussions to ensure that the best deal is reached for both parties. We also support Community Action Planning activity. 

Our resources help communities make the most of community benefits from renewable energy developments:

  • A Community Benefits Toolkit to guide groups through the process from initial contact with a project developer through to monitoring and review. It includes a number of useful tools, for example a document template to help you draw up your own Community Benefits agreement.
  • A webinar about the Community Benefits Toolkit, explaining how to use it and presenting case studies from across Scotland
  • A webinar about community benefits and getting the governance right that looks in detail at the module of the toolkit of the same name
  • Case studies to show how communities have benefited
  • A Community Benefit Register that details community benefits provision across Scotland
  • Frameworks of Contractors to help community groups select legal, financial, project management and community engagement services quickly and with confidence. Of particular interest for those planning for community benefits the Community Engagement Framework can help with:
    • Community Profiles and Action Planning - Enabling communities to maximise the impact from community benefit funds or identify local energy opportunities by undertaking desk based research and community consultation activities to develop publicly available community profiles and action plans.
    • Supporting Community Responses to Energy and Income Opportunities - working with, and build capacity within, communities to help them respond effectively to new energy and income opportunities. This could also include 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 - helping 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)

Other support includes:

  • An enablement grant to help community groups identify the needs and aspirations of their community, or to support the securing and setting up of community funds
  • Community Action Plans, produced by communities who have been supported by us

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