At the halfway period of the consultation on the Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Developments, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing encourages all those with an interest to respond before the deadline of 17 January 2014.
The proposed guidance recommends a baseline community benefits package of at least £5,000 per MW. It encourages developers to consider the scope for communities to invest directly in commercial schemes as well as advising on the process for offering benefits and how to achieve most effective spend.
Commenting mid-way through the consultation process Mr Ewing said:
“Last year Scotland’s communities received nearly £7 million in community benefits, we are committed to maximising the opportunities for community benefits of onshore renewables. We recognise that many developers have individual company policies and approaches which work well to deliver community benefits.
“Communities across Scotland have been supported by renewable energy funds from commercial developers, innovative projects stemming from this include community buy-out of a local pub, support for domestic energy efficiency schemes and community ownership of a local shop.
“It is our intention that this guidance will build upon the progress in the field to date. I encourage all those with an interest to respond to the consultation and make their views heard.”
Susanne Mueller of Edinburgh-based wind developers Vento Ludens Ltd. welcomes the consultation:
“With a good practice guidance encouraging developers and communities to engage at an early stage, community benefit can be implemented strategically and sustainably to be a source of long-term investment in many local communities”
“Funds provided to communities from our wind farm have supported a range of projects including outdoor leisure facilities and community spaces that encourage people to come together.”
Jennifer Ramsay, Community Benefits Officer at Local Energy Scotland said:
“We are seeking opinions from all stakeholders on the good practice principles, as we endeavour to produce a valuable document which can inform those engaging in community benefit discussions throughout Scotland.”