A vital part of our renewables work is ensuring that local communities benefit from these developments.

There are three ways that community groups can get more involved in projects:

Community benefit payments

Community groups may be eligible for benefit payments from developer-led renewable energy projects. In 2010 we introduced a standard annual community benefit of £5,000 per MW installed. This industry standard and is part of the Scottish Government Good Practice Principles.

The community must be an appropriate organisation as outlined in our guidance: Definition of an appropriate community organisation (PDF 90KB)

We have produced guidance for developers on their role in agreeing community benefit arrangements: Developer guidance - Community Benefit Arrangements (PDF 119KB)

Community investment

Community groups can invest in a local development and receive payments from this stake. Investment opportunities are determined by developers and communities.

Community investment on the National Forest Estate (PDF 238KB) outlines the principles we apply to the financing of community investment opportunities.

Community self-development

Communities have worked with us to develop their own renewable energy schemes on the estate through the National Forest Land Scheme, now the Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS). We are working with groups that have expressed an interest in these opportunities.

Costs associated with community self development

To help community groups progress their proposals, we have produced guidance on rental payments and other costs (e.g.legal fees):

Draft heads of terms

Draft heads of terms for the leasing of land for community organisations to take forward a wind or hydro renewable energy scheme:

Learning lessons from community projects

Our work with communities on energy projects is very new, and we're keen to find out how we can improve.

In 2014, we commissioned research into community perceptions of how we dealt with three projects; development of community-owned hydro schemes at Stank Burn, near Callander, and Allt Achadh na Moine (Garmony) on Mull; and opportunity for community investment in a commercial hydro development at Abhainn Shalachain, Morvern.

Further advice

Advice about community benefits and opportunities is available through the Scottish Government CARES contract from Local Energy Scotland or Freephone 0808 808 2288.

Development Trusts Association Scotland, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Community Woodlands Association and Community Energy Scotland may also be able to assist.