‘Community benefits’ in offshore renewables not ‘material consideration’ in new Scot-Govt consultation

Scottish Government logoScotland is estimated to have around 25% 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 by voluntary donations from commercial developers.

The Scottish Government believes that the benefits of renewable energy should be shared across Scotland, and should be invested in our communities for long-term stability. There are a range of challenges and barriers in providing community benefits from offshore renewables and these community benefit principles are intended to reflect and accommodate these factors as well as the sensitive and early-stage nature of the industry.

So it is consulting on its proposed – ‘Good Practice Principles for Community Benefit in Offshore Renewables’ guidelines for developers.

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’ are ‘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.

Deadline for submitting response; 21 August 2014

The document and response forms can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/06/9554

 

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