Last week the Scottish Government launched it’s new Community Benefit Register. The voluntary Register is intended to include information on renewable developments of all scales across the country and the contributions they are making to their local communities in terms of funding and support.
The Register is designed to improve the position of community groups who are engaging in negotiations with developers.Community groups will now be able to research what scale of contribution similarly sized developments elsewhere in the country and base their negotiating position accordingly.
Another stated aim of the Community Benefit Register is to encourage those undertaking small and medium scale renewable projects to engage with communities and offer community benefits. It is at this point that we would like to point out that ILI-Renewable Energy offers a community benefit as part of all of our developments. Indeed we had already engaged with local charities across the country long before the Community Benefit Register was announced.
Community Benefit schemes can come in all shapes and sizes. 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 already 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 launch of the Community Benefit Register was made by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond who stated:
“Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources. We have a responsibility to make sure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.
“Importantly, we have a responsibility to make sure we seize these opportunities for the benefit of all Scots.
“Many communities are already reaping the benefits of green energy and the new register provides a level playing field to ensure more share in the advantages of Scotland’s vast natural resources.
“The Community Benefit Register allows 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.
“The Clyde Wind Farm being officially opened in South Lanarkshire is a good example of how the renewables revolution is good news economically for business and communities.
“Almost £22 million will be ploughed into communities across South Lanarkshire, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway over the next 25 years from the profits of their turbines.
“This register gives everyone in Scotland the information to be able to share in the opportunities new renewable energy development brings.”
Jennifer Ramsay, administrator of the Register also commented:
“It’s great to see that many developers are realising the potential of the Register, as shown by their inclusion on the website. By increasing transparency and openness in the field, both communities and developers will be better equipped to enter discussions regarding community benefits, and can maximise the mutual benefits from future schemes.
“The Register will detail the tangible benefits to communities from developments, and underline the positive changes that the funds have generated on a local level. The information is available to all, and anyone with an interest in community benefit schemes will see quickly and easily what funds are in place across Scotland.
“We are asking all developers and recipient groups to log on and submit their details on community benefits, particularly those with a more innovative funding structure. We hope to highlight the range of funding structure possibilities for community benefits from renewable energy developments on every scale, and across Scotland.”
The launch of the Register was greeted enthusiastically by the Scottish renewable energy industry. Joss Blamire, Onshore Wind Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables remarked:
“The renewables industry in Scotland has already invested many millions of pounds into communities across the country through voluntary schemes known as community benefit.
“Community benefit schemes contribute towards vital projects in local areas such as new leisure facilities, education and training programmes and improvements to the local infrastructure and environment.
“This new register will help demonstrate the wide variety of benefits renewables projects are already providing local communities as well as giving practical advice to those communities wishing to learn more about how to access the benefits of renewable energy in their area.”
It is our hope that the Community Benefit Register will allow the public to see more fully the contribution renewable energy is making to this country beyond carbon emissions, energy prices and government generation targets.