Sector Deal - Community Commitments Update

Scottish Onshore Wind Sector Deal Update: Community

The Scottish onshore wind industry is committed to being a ‘good neighbour’ to the communities in which wind projects are located and this commitment is reaffirmed in the Scottish Onshore Wind Sector Deal. The Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments were first introduced in 2014, and most recently updated in 2019. Between 1990 and 2022, over £194M in community benefits have been committed from renewable projects, the majority coming from onshore wind. This will continue to rise as we realise our ambitions for growth over the coming decades.

These community benefits are being made available to communities to support a diverse range of activities to improve the daily lives of people across Scotland. The community commitments in the Sector Deal cover community engagement, community benefits, and shared ownership, and they aim to generate, circulate, and retain more wealth in communities and localities. 

The Sector Deal includes 9 commitments to ensure communities benefit from the expected increase in onshore wind, required to meet the 2030 ambition of 20GW.

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Supporting Community Wealth Building

In the Sector Deal, the onshore wind sector and Scottish Government agree to collaborate with other stakeholders to establish a standard approach to the financial management of community benefit funds and ways to support community shared ownership models. The Scottish Government will continue to make the community benefits toolkit available on the Local Energy Scotland website and will update relevant case studies on an ongoing basis.

The onshore wind sector agrees to engage with communities early in the project development cycle, including providing an in-principle community benefit agreement prior to the Financial Investment Decision. When projects are sold, industry commits to ensuring that any community benefit and shared ownership agreements are maintained as a condition of sale. Developers will look for ways to collaboratively approach community benefits with other developers in the community and look to supporting more ambitious community-led projects.

Who is Involved

Local Energy Scotland (Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland Manager) and Scottish Renewables (Megan Amundson, Head of Onshre Wind & Consenting) are taking the lead in implementing these commitments. Please contact them if you have a query.

Work Update

  • The Scottish Government continues to fund the community benefits toolkit available on the Local Energy Scotland website and they update relevant case studies on an ongoing basis.
  • Local Energy Scotland is working to update the community benefits register. The updated register is due to be published in June 2024.
  • Local Energy Scotland has produced a report on shared ownership as a first step to identifying opportunities and challenges to increasing community shared ownership in onshore wind projects.
  • Local Energy Scotland is hosting a workshop on community shared ownership for developers on May 23 from 13:00-14:00. 
  • Work on a standard approach to the financial management of community benefit funds will begin later in 2024.