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Community Benefits Programs and Clean Energy

September 28, 2023 Category: Implementation, Infrastructure

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in using community benefits programs for clean energy infrastructure projects as a way to mitigate impacts and increase community support. These programs can vary in structure but often developers agree to provide benefits like grants, workforce opportunities, or educational programs to the host community. While they have the potential to create win-win scenarios for all stakeholders, these programs do not guarantee community support and should be meaningfully created and effectively implemented.  

In this fact sheet CATF breaks down the potential characteristics and structures of these programs to convey how they could increase community willingness to host infrastructure, improve outcomes for communities and developers, and build progress towards larger climate and clean energy goals. 

Key Takeaways:  

  • Community benefits programs can serve as a way to mitigate project harms, enhance project benefits, or provide other means to help communities achieve long-term social or economic goals.  
  • Benefits can be administered through a multitude of characteristics and structures. There is no one common approach. 
  • If implemented appropriately and through inclusive, community-led processes, community benefits programs have the potential to increase support for clean energy projects.