For the first time ever, the Scottish Government’s Register of Community Benefits has shown that £25 million worth of community benefits have been recorded by Scottish communities and renewable energy businesses in a 12 month period Ms Gillian Martin MSP, Minister for Energy and the Environment announced today.

Speaking at the annual CARES conference Ms Martin said that between 2018 and 2022 a community benefit commitment of over £106 million has been recorded from onshore wind projects, with £25 million in the last 12 months alone. Ms Martin expects that this will continue to rise as we realise our ambitions for growth over the coming decades.

The Register of Community Benefits, maintained by Local Energy Scotland, details the voluntary arrangements offered by renewable energy businesses to communities located near onshore renewables developments such as wind farms and are often a valuable source of funding for local communities.

During the last 12 months more than 250 renewable energy projects across Scotland have recorded community benefits packages. Monies are used to secure long-term benefits for local communities, including investing in more renewable energy projects of their own, projects that support net zero aims, alleviating fuel poverty, creating sustainable transport schemes, and improving green spaces and parks.

To support more communities to benefit, Local Energy Scotland have a free Community Benefits Toolkit available.

Energy Minister Gillian Martin said:

“The Scottish Government is very clear that increasing renewable energy must benefit people across Scotland as part of a just transition to net zero, and community benefits from renewable energy developments have a key role to play in engaging communities and delivering lasting economic and social benefits across local and regional economies.

“This is why we also continue to encourage developers to offer community benefits as standard on all new projects through our Good Practice Principles, and I am delighted that over £25 million of community benefits have been committed to communities in the past 12 months. This figure will continue to rise as we realise our ambitions for renewables growth over the coming years, and we will continue to work closely with developers and communities to maximise the tangible and lasting benefits that will come from our journey to becoming a cleaner, greener Scotland.”

Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland Manager, said: “We know that community benefits make a real and transformational difference to communities, and it’s great to see this landmark milestone being reached. Our conference today focused on acting and we’ve learnt more about the action being taken by communities who are using these benefits to take forward projects that support their own net zero ambitions.

“It can be hard to know where to start, but for communities want to take action contact Local Energy Scotland who offer advice, funding and support to help communities to engage with, participate in and benefit from the energy transition to net zero emissions.”