This is the responses to the above mentioned consultation.
Renewable energy in Scotland presents an unprecedented opportunity for communities to
share in the benefits of their local energy resources. The Scottish Government has no
powers to oblige developers to pay community benefits but has been very encouraged by
the willingness of onshore renewables developers to offer voluntary community benefits
packages and to register these on the Scottish Government's Register of Community
2013 saw the launch of the Onshore Wind Community Benefit Protocol published by
Scottish Renewables, which details a consistent approach to community benefits across
Scotland. Community benefits present an opportunity for social, economic and
environmental improvements to communities and individuals across Scotland. The protocol,
which is the first of its kind for Scotland, outlines a number of key commitments from Scotland's onshore wind sector, including a commitment to explore the potential for greater
community ownership from onshore wind farms and a pledge to sign up to the online
Register of Community Benefits from Renewables. This protocol is an important step in the
right direction as we move towards a position where as many wind farms as possible, still to
be commissioned, including small scale developments, are able to sign up to these industry
We know that the processes and administration of community benefits are evolving, and will
be shaped by the local context, but we do think there is scope to encourage models that
allow communities to invest strategically in order to maximise local gains.
This document details good practice principles and procedures promoted by Scottish
Government. It is intended as a practical guide to the process but also, through examples
of what is already being achieved, as a showcase to inspire success.
This Guidance has drawn mainly on experience from the onshore wind sector but the
Scottish Government would like to see community benefits promoted across all renewables
technologies and hence most of the principles and procedures herein will be applicable to
other onshore renewable energy technologies. In 2014, Scottish Government Guidance will
be developed to cover community benefits from offshore renewables.
While intended for developers of renewable energy projects in Scotland, it is also expected
to be a valuable tool for other stakeholders, such as community groups and local
authorities, to understand the expected process.
Finally we are grateful for the work of the informal stakeholder group, as listed in Annex
11.4, convened under our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), in helping
to develop this Guidance. We think this effort has produced a very helpful national
reference to guide what is a voluntary local process, and we are committed to working
together to ensure that the Guidance is reviewed and updated to stay relevant.