What is the benefit of community benefits? Exploring local perceptions of the provision of community benefits from a commercial wind energy project

Catriona Macdonald, Jayne Glass*, Emily Creamer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Where community ownership of renewable energy projects is not feasible, there remains potential for residents to profit from locally-sited projects through a ‘community benefits’ package from a commercial developer, usually as an annual cash payment to a community organisation. Despite support from policymakers and developers for community benefits packages, the relationship between the benefit package and acceptance of renewable energy projects is not straightforward. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with local residents and other community actors near a wind development in central Scotland, this paper examines the ‘process’ and ‘outcome’ dimensions of the design and provision of community benefits and considers how the relationship between these two dimensions affects local perceptions of the benefit of community benefits. Analysis of interviewees’ perceptions of the community engagement ‘process’ at the planning stage and the community benefit package ‘outcome’ reveals how a poorly defined engagement process, combined with a benefits package that is not deemed suitable for the needs of the community, can lead to negative associations with the project, even when initial perceptions were positive. These findings have implications for renewable energy policy in Scotland, particularly as there is currently no legal obligation for developers to consult communities on community benefit arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-191
Number of pages20
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Volume133
Issue number3-4
Early online date27 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 27 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

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wind energy
community
energy
community organization
renewable energy
energy policy
ownership
project
resident
obligation
profit

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited

Keywords

  • community energy
  • community benefit
  • community engagement
  • wind energy
  • renewables
  • scotland

Cite this

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title = "What is the benefit of community benefits? Exploring local perceptions of the provision of community benefits from a commercial wind energy project",
abstract = "Where community ownership of renewable energy projects is not feasible, there remains potential for residents to profit from locally-sited projects through a ‘community benefits’ package from a commercial developer, usually as an annual cash payment to a community organisation. Despite support from policymakers and developers for community benefits packages, the relationship between the benefit package and acceptance of renewable energy projects is not straightforward. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with local residents and other community actors near a wind development in central Scotland, this paper examines the ‘process’ and ‘outcome’ dimensions of the design and provision of community benefits and considers how the relationship between these two dimensions affects local perceptions of the benefit of community benefits. Analysis of interviewees’ perceptions of the community engagement ‘process’ at the planning stage and the community benefit package ‘outcome’ reveals how a poorly defined engagement process, combined with a benefits package that is not deemed suitable for the needs of the community, can lead to negative associations with the project, even when initial perceptions were positive. These findings have implications for renewable energy policy in Scotland, particularly as there is currently no legal obligation for developers to consult communities on community benefit arrangements.",
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What is the benefit of community benefits? Exploring local perceptions of the provision of community benefits from a commercial wind energy project. / Macdonald, Catriona; Glass, Jayne; Creamer, Emily.

In: Scottish Geographical Journal, Vol. 133, No. 3-4, 27.11.2017, p. 172-191.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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