The SNP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s adoption of a set of principles which will maximise community benefit from onshore renewable energy projects.
The finalised Good Practice Principles for Community Benefit from Onshore Renewable Developments will promote a community benefits package rate equivalent to at least £5,000 per Megawatt per year – meaning a 20 Megawatt windfarm with eight turbines would generate at least £100,000 per year for the local community.
The plans published today also encourage renewable energy developers to bring forward information on community benefits as early as possible in the planning process – and will go some way to delivering on the Scottish Government target for 500 megawatts of community and locally owned renewables by 2020.
South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“A small number of people have been making a lot of noise about wind turbines, but they are not representative.  The rural landscape of Scotland is beautiful but it has always been a working landscape too.  It has supported farming, forestry and rural businesses – and local people know that.
“The countryside is not just a place for city folk to retire to and admire, it needs to support jobs and future generations.
“As well as helping to combat climate change, renewable energy can and should direct a lot of capital investment into communities. It’s really important that these rural communities gain substantial benefit from any development and so I am very pleased at this move by the Scottish Government.
The SNP MSP added:
“I recently visited the Multi-Use Games Area at Johnstonebridge Primary School which was paid for by wind farm community benefit and means the youngsters can keep active and have fun all year round.
“I have also enjoyed the folk and bluegrass festivals at Moniaive which are paid for in part by community benefit and are a huge economic boost for local businesses.
“Going forward I would like to see community benefit increased substantially and used to help rural economies by improving public transport, training young people and supporting local business start-ups. And while the proper planning process must always be followed, the possibility of job creation brought about by this capital investment is really exciting.”
Notes to editors