Scottish communities reaped £20m in benefits from renewable energy businesses in a 12-month period, according to the Scottish government.

The government’s register of community benefits, maintained by Local Energy Scotland, details the voluntary arrangements offered by renewable energy businesses to communities located near onshore renewables developments.

During the last 12 months records added to the register show that more than 240 renewable energy projects across Scotland are benefitting communities.

The money is being used to secure long-term benefits including investing in more renewable energy projects of their own, alleviating fuel poverty, creating sustainable transport schemes, and improving green spaces and parks.

Local Energy Scotland manager Chris Morris said: “We know that community benefits make a real and transformational difference to communities, and it’s great to see this landmark milestone being reached.

“The amount of benefit that these payments offer really goes to show their worth, but we appreciate it can be hard to know where to start if groups are thinking of taking advantage of them.”

To support more communities to benefit, Local Energy Scotland recently launched a new, free community benefits toolkit in partnership with Foundation Scotland.

The toolkit is available here.

It was designed to make it even easier for communities to secure, set up and mange funds and wider packages of community benefits from renewable energy schemes.

Scottish Renewables director of policy Morag Watson said: “Renewable energy is transforming communities across Scotland, providing enormous economic, environmental and social benefits to some of the country’s most remote areas.

“Scottish Renewables is committed to ensuring those positive impacts are maximised, with voluntary community benefit payments being just one part of that process.

“It is fantastic news that £20m of community benefit payments has been made to communities across the country in the past 12 months.

“Scotland’s renewable energy industry looks forward to continued engagement with communities as we work towards our ambitious net-zero target.”

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