Community benefits from onshore renewable energy developments

Guidance on good practice principles for communities, businesses, local authorities and others.

Support Available

This section covers:

  • Support available through CARES
  • Signpost to other relevant organisations

Support Available

Support is available through the Scottish Government’s CARES programme, delivered by Local Energy Scotland, to help a community to engage with a renewable energy business to discuss the community benefits package.

The first line of support will come from a Local Development Officer. Referrals to other agencies and support mechanisms will be suggested as part of this service.

A key issue for a community is to consider its capacity (skills and expertise) to support and manage the process. This will be different for each community – for example, some may have paid development staff, while others will be reliant solely on volunteers. The local authority may be able to offer support, and communities may wish to approach them to establish what types of support may be available to them.

However, irrespective of the level of capacity within a community, Local Energy Scotland will assess a community’s overall requirement, and in discussion with the community, outline what CARES support is available as well as signposting to other organisations who may be able to assist.  The support available falls into the following broad categories and the diagram below summarises the key elements:

  • Funding
  • Professional Services
  • Online Tools and Resources
  • Signposting

Community Benefits: CARES Support throughout the journey

There are a number of other organisations which can provide help and assistance. Contact details for the main ones are:

Scottish Enterprise deliver the Energy Investment Fund (EIF)

  • The EIF team offers a range of financial solutions to facilitate communities’ aspirations to secure stakes in shared ownership projects. 
  • EIF works closely with all stakeholders following planning approval to maintain open discussions to smooth the progress of the project through to successful completion. 
  • Find out more by contacting Scottish Investment Bank on 0845 607 8787

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

HIE also provide support specifically to local energy projects through their Energy Team and Strengthening Communities Team, as well as account management for communities in fragile areas.

Further information on the support HIE can provide is available here:

Other organisations supporting communities to move forward and understand investing in renewables and what to do with the income generated include:

There is also the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency under development which will provide economic support to communities and businesses operating in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. This document will be revised to include details when operational.

Local Energy Scotland website

More detailed information, material and relevant links are available at



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