Community benefit funds hit record £8.8m-a-year high!
At Local Energy Scotland we were delighted to be able to announce that communities in Scotland are receiving over £8.8 million-a-year in community benefit payments. Our research shows that this is the highest amount ever, and it is a fantastic demonstration of the excellent work that has been achieved by renewable energy developers and community groups in Scotland.
This exciting news comes from the constantly-updated Local Energy Scotland Community Renewables Register.
Chris Morris of Local Energy Scotland said: “The Register shows not just the financial value of Community Benefit funds, providing sustainable income to Scottish communities every year, but also shows what can be achieved with the revenue.
“We strongly encourage developers and communities alike to visit the Register and browse the information available, and of course upload information of any schemes in which they are involved.”
Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager at industry body Scottish Renewables, also welcomed the announcement.
He said: “This new figure shows quite clearly the huge contribution green energy projects are making to communities across Scotland. Without onshore wind, many of the worthy projects which have been supported so far simply could not have gone ahead.
“Community Benefit payments are just a part of the overall picture here: onshore wind in Scotland is delivering clean energy and jobs and investment, as well as helping meet our 2020 climate change targets.
“Onshore wind employs almost 3,400 people in Scotland, and latest figures show that the sector invested more than £700 million in the country in the year to September 2014. Community Benefit payments, which can last for up to 20 years, are just part of that picture – but they’re a part which is increasingly important to some of Scotland’s most remote areas.”
Community Benefit payments are donated to Scottish communities from projects of all scales, from just 500kW to the largest development at 539MW, ScottishPower Renewables' Whitelee wind farm. Our research has also revealed that the cash is being spent in "a huge number of remarkably diverse ways". From building a new community hall in Daviot, Aberdeenshire, buying a thermal imaging camera for residents in Sutherland to see where their homes need extra insulation, and even sending a dance school from West Lothian to the European Street Dance Championships in Germany.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing spoke of the impact of Community Benefit payments, saying: “These figures demonstrate how community benefits from renewables offer an unprecedented opportunity to improve people’s lives".
"Over £8.5 million invested in such diverse projects in the last year demonstrates a great level of commitment from developers, large and small, to ensuring that green energy developments harness not only the wind, but the goodwill of local communities.”
The Register is available to view here, and for any further information about the Register, or Community Benefit payments, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These figures demonstrate how community benefits from renewables offer an unprecedented opportunity to improve people’s lives