Communities must benefit from renewable power generation, insist Lib Dems

Communities near renewable energy installations must benefit from the power they produce, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.

The party’s candidate for Edinburgh West, Christine Jardine, said large energy suppliers must sell the power generated by wind farms directly to customers nearby, with money also going to community benefit funds.

On Thursday, she visited Aikengall Community Wind Farm in East Lothian, which provides a community benefit of £120,000 per year.

The Lib Dems say they would empower local authorities to develop local renewable electricity projects.

Christine Jardine smiling to camera, at the Houses of Parliament
Christine Jardine has hailed the benefits of renewables (PA)

Ms Jardine said: “Scotland’s renewable energy is incredible, but people living locally need to get the full benefit of these opportunities.

“At the moment, any contribution from developers to the community is voluntary.

“The wholesale price of electricity has soared but the benefits for the communities have not, with little of that windfall actually trickling down to those who have the downside of living near wind farms.

“Liberal Democrat proposals would see communities getting the financial help they need to bring down fuel bills for locals, build more affordable homes, fund things like local swimming pools, playgrounds and community halls.

“Our approach would put communities at the very heart of Scotland’s bright renewable energy future.”