Chapter 6: Community Benefits
Our draft OWPS set out the Scottish Government's consistent and clear approach to Community Benefits. To date, this has encompassed
- Publication in 2014 of our 'Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments - this is a practical guide which seeks to bring transparency into the process and showcase best practice
- The launch of a public register of community benefits available on the Local Energy Scotland website. This allows developers and communities to provide details of their community benefit deals and how the funding is supporting a wide range of local community projects.
78. Community benefit payments are a valuable source of income for those communities located near to onshore wind developments. As of November 2017, over £12 million had been paid out to communities over the preceding 12 month period. A variety of important and beneficial projects have been supported, excellent examples of which can be found on the Local Energy Scotland website. A brief summary of only a few of the many projects across Scotland is included at Annex B of this document.
79. These projects can make a real difference to communities, and in many cases can be transformational. We believe that the relationship between the developer and the local community is critical to ensuring a positive experience and outcome for all parties.
80. We welcome that developers and communities across Scotland have adopted the Good Practice Principles. This has helped to bring transparency into the process, while increasing trust and credibility. It is important that the next generation of onshore wind continues this positive and valuable relationship with local communities. However the Good Practice Principles have not yet been universally adopted.
81. Our expectation remains that developers should continue to offer meaningful community benefits in line with our Good Practice Principles.
82. However, we so also accept that there has been a profound change in the support mechanisms and investment conditions for new onshore wind projects, and understand that the prevailing uncertainty around a route to market might lead developers to review their community benefits offer.
83. The Scottish Government commits to reviewing the Good Practice Principles for Community Benefit during the course of 2018. We intend this review to consider and explore in more detail new business models, legacy arrangements, and repowering opportunities, with the aim of ensuring communities continue to benefit from local projects in a manner that is appropriate for the current and future context in which projects are developed.