Payments by TSOs (Transmission System Operators) to communities who are present in the vicinity of new grid infrastructure have become a common practice throughout Europe. These payments (also known as community compensation/gain/benefit) have been seen as a way to both increase local support and to supply an “appropriate benefit” to communities that host grid infrastructure. At the same time, such transactions have been criticised as a tool to ‘buy’ local community support.
Finding the right, legitimate approach to agree upon such payments is therefore of high importance. The methods used to design and administer payments to the community with regards to new grid infrastructure are diverse. RGI has received requests from its members and external partners who are curious to understand what current practice in this field looks like and how it is being shaped by local circumstances. These requests come from a desire to improve practice through the sharing of real world “on the ground” experiences.
RGI ran a process to collect case studies across Europe and to understand the range of practices that exist. The work so far is presented in our brochure “Community payments: Case studies from across Europe”. This work is in addition to several workshops hosted by RGI, attended by TSOs and NGOs, which defined a set of “good practice” guidelines for those looking to develop community payment or benefit sharing schemes. In the future, RGI is looking to better understand the role of regulators in defining what TSOs can commit to pay for such initiatives and to improve the coordination of practices across Europe.