Last week the Scottish Government announced that a Register of Community Benefits is to be created for renewable developments. The register will record the details of any Community Benefits entered into between developers and local communities. Community Benefits are generally organised on the basis of an agreed annual fee based upon the amount of energy produced by a development. Recently the trade body RenewableUK produced a protocol for Community Benefits which specified a minimum annual payment of £1,000 per megawatt. The register will be available to the public after it’s launch next year.
A huge number of community projects have taken advantage of the community benefits many developers (including ourselves) offer.
For instance there are new children’s playgrounds, apprenticeship schemes, graduate bursaries, charity groups and many other organisations which have received additional or essential funding as a result of renewable energy developments. Indeed, Community Benefits have proven so beneficial that some Local Authority Areas have now made them mandatory for any wind turbine development. We at ILI-Renewable Energy would like to note that we offer double the level of funding required by certain councils.
The Community Benefit Register was launched by the Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism at the Scottish Green Business Awards, Mr Fergus Ewing.
He commented that the Register would allow community groups to ensure they were getting a fair offer for developers:
“This new register will allow local communities to enter negotiations with developers – from those putting up single turbines on farms and estates to those building the largest schemes – on an even footing.
“An established renewables developer will always know the ‘going rate’ for community benefits, but a community which has never negotiated before, and those rural businesses developing for the first time, may not.”
Whilst we do feel that the Register will prove to be beneficial in this way we feel that MR Ewing did not mention one of the major benefits such a Register will bring. The entire renewables industry will benefit from having a list, in the public domain, of all of the various good causes, essential services and community groups which are being supported in these difficult times of austerity.