Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has today announced the adoption of a set of principles designed to maximise community benefit from onshore renewable energy developments.
These principles will help the Scottish Government deliver the 500 megawatts of community and locally owned renewables target by 2020.
The finalised Good Practice Principles for Community Benefit from Onshore Renewable Developments have now been published, following a period of consultation.
The key principle is the promotion of a national community benefits package rate equivalent to at least £5,000 per Megawatt per year, index linked to inflation for the operational lifetime of the development. So for example, a 20 Megawatt windfarm of eight turbines will generate at least £100,000 a year for the local community.
Another key component of the guidance encourages renewable energy developers to submit information on potential community benefits as early in the development process as possible. This is considered a vital step in allowing time for the community to consider properly and to develop ideas for implementation of the community benefit package.
In addition, as part of the Principles Mr Ewing has announced that Government will work in partnership with Scottish Renewables to set up a short-term industry working group (Scottish Land & Estates will be on this group) to develop guidance to encourage community investment in commercial renewables schemes.
This is with a view to maximising the opportunity for communities to invest directly in local commercial schemes. To date communities involved in benefit schemes have reaped over £5.6 million for local projects and developments.