The Offshore Wind sector is a major, dynamic, and rapidly evolving renewable energy industry. This is particularly so in Europe, and especially in the UK. Associated with the growth of the industry has been a growth of interest in community benefits as voluntary measures provided by a developer to the host community. However, in many cases, and for some of the large North Sea distant offshore wind farms, the benefits packages have been disparate and pro rata much smaller than for the well-established onshore wind farm industry. However, there are signs of change. This paper explores the issues of community benefits for the UK offshore sector and evolving practice, as reflected in a macro study of the adoption of community benefits approaches across the industry. This is followed by a more in-depth micro- approach, which explores approaches that have been adopted in three case studies of recent OWF projects — Aberdeen, Beatrice and the Hornsea Array. Whilst there is still much divergence in practice, there are also examples of some convergence, and the development of a more replicable practice. Particularly notable is the adoption of annual community benefits funds, as the key element of community benefits schemes/agreements between developers, local authorities and local communities.
School of the Built Environment
Year of publication: 2021Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-07-15