Scotland is estimated to have around a quarter of Europe's potential offshore wind resources, and The Scottish Government wishes to see communities across the country share in the benefits from this rich natural resource. This document looks at good practice in shaping and delivering community benefits from offshore renewable energy projects, complementary to supply chain and other socio-economic benefits to Scotland.
‘Community benefits’ in this document are understood to be voluntary measures which are provided outside of the planning process and are not a material consideration.
It is recognised that the offshore wind industry is at a critical stage in its development and the UK is competing globally to attract this investment. The industry’s focus is therefore on ensuring the deployment of offshore renewable energy projects and the creation of a strong, diverse supply chain which will deliver sustainable benefits to Scotland and the UK through the creation of jobs and inward investment. Complementary to the delivery of supply chain benefits, developers are encouraged to consider a community benefit package.
These principles are intended to apply to developers in the offshore wind industry, but may be of interest to those in wave and tidal technologies. The onshore wind industry is more mature than offshore renewables. The provision of a community benefit package must therefore be considered separately in the context of each industry. It is the expectation of The Scottish Government that relevant principles of community benefit will be applicable to any renewable energy industry once commercially viable. It is recognised that wave and tidal technologies are not yet at this stage in their development.
There are a range of challenges and barriers in providing community benefits from offshore renewables such as identifying the community, working with a diverse set of stakeholders, considering onshore infrastructure and the critical stage of development in which the industry finds itself. These community benefit principles are intended to reflect and accommodate the sensitive and early-stage nature of the industry. As with The Scottish Government’s onshore good practice principles, it is anticipated that this document will be refined and reviewed in the coming years.