Scotland’s wealth of natural resources and commitment to a sustainable low carbon future present a significant opportunity for achieving our social, economic, and industrial growth ambitions.
2018 proved yet another record year for Scotland with renewable electricity generation in Scotland up 6.1% on 2017, with renewable sources capable of meeting 74.6% of Scotland’s demand. The equivalent of powering all households in Scotland for more than 2.5 years. We want to ensure that Scotland’s long and positive association with renewable energy continues to go from strength to strength.
Key to this is our people, and the communities in which we all live. Empowering communities to engage in the decisions affecting their future, making their voices heard is a priority for the Scottish Government, and we are committed to enabling them to participate fully in and benefit from Scotland’s low carbon transition. We continue to facilitate and support community involvement in renewable energy through our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) and Energy Investment Fund (EIF) programmes, and set targets of 1 GW of community and locally owned energy by 2020 and 2 GW by 2030. It is also our ambition to ensure that by 2020, at least half of newly consented renewable energy projects will have an element of shared ownership.
We first produced Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments in 2014, and as at April 2019, a total of £18,520,483 has been made available to communities to support a diverse range of activity to improve the daily lives of people across Scotland.
I would like to congratulate Scotland’s renewables sector for the positive manner in which they have worked alongside Scottish Government to ensure that the Good Practice Principles remain relevant and are seen as the “go to” documents for a range of stakeholders, primarily communities, who may have little or no experience in dealing with renewable energy businesses or other relevant bodies.
This document supersedes the 2014 document and is intended to function as a valuable tool for renewable energy businesses, communities, local authorities and other stakeholders involved in the development of renewable energy. The document acknowledges the success of community benefits to date, recognises the value of a more flexible and holistic approach to community benefits discussions in the future, and places a greater focus on achieving a lasting legacy for local communities underpinned by a well-developed community action plan.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Steering Group who helped govern the Good Practice Principles Review process, and all those who input their views and experiences through workshops and our public consultation during the Winter of 2018/19.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands