Community benefit tops £5 million from Scottish wind farms

According to a national register, community benefits paid by Scottish wind farm operators has topped £5m per year.

Speaking ahead of the Onshore Wind Conference in Glasgow tomorrow (Tues 25th) Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables, said:

"It's fantastic to see that onshore wind developers are working directly with communities to provide local causes in Scotland with more than £5 million in voluntary funding every year. We believe this figure will be much higher as we encourage every developer to sign up their schemes and as new schemes become operational. It's hard to imagine any other industry being able to offer anywhere near this kind of commitment to local communities.

"Community benefit isn't just a financial transaction, it can be provided through a variety of means. In some cases the relationship between developer and community goes even further into commercial joint ventures and even complete community ownership.

"We know our members are providing communities with a range of opportunities to invest in projects and initiatives that really matter to them. For example, we've seen major investments in local museums, support for baby and toddler groups, college bursaries and even funding for a community transport scheme."

Mr Blamire went on to say: "These packages are totally voluntary and are not taken into consideration when local authorities are making decisions on an individual planning application. Onshore wind developers have been working with local communities to offer community benefit as a means of sharing the value of their project over its lifetime while tailoring benefit to meet their needs."

The Scottish Government Register of Community Benefit from Renewables was launched in September 2012 by the First Minister Alex Salmond and provides a central base for developers to log details of the support they provide.

The Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind Conference will take place at the Lighthouse in Glasgow tomorrow (Tues 25 June).

Case Studies:


1.The Clyde wind farm community fund awarded the Biggar Museum Trust a £620,000 grant. More details here

2.Griffin Fund awarded £100,000 to help towards restoring the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy to officially opens its doors and will employ eight members of staff, boast a state-of-the-art 100 seat digital 3D cinema screen as well as a 64 seat restaurant and café bar.

3.The same fund awarded Dunkeld and Birnam Community Growing £13,000 for an initiative that brings the community together to grow local food organically.

RWE npower renewables Ltd has invested more than £407,000 in 2012 across its Scottish wind farm portfolio.

4.Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund established Care in Strathnairn thanks to monies from Farr Wind Farm (south-west of Inverness).The service has developed its work to include a basic handyperson service, representation and guidance services, along with a weekly friendship group.

5.The North Argyll Volunteer Car Scheme (NAVCS) is was able to expand thanks to an additional £2000 support from the An Suidhe Wind Farm Community Fund. NAVCS provides a vital community service by enabling those living in remote rural areas, who do not have use of a car and are unable to access public transport, to be driven by volunteers when they need to make a trip.

6.The Causeymire Wind Farm in Caithness has helped the Halkirk Playgroup and Toddler Group through the Halkirk District Benefit Fund as they've been able to purchase various items of equipment to help with play and education.

ScottishPower Renewables

7.Carrick Futures was established from two wind farms in South Ayrshire and funding has been used to provide bursaries for people living within the funding area to attend their local college and gain new skills on a turbine technician course. The fund has also helped insulate homes, provide rural skills training for local residents and developed a local tourism imitative and website to promote the wider Carrick area.


8.E.ON Rosehall Community Fund awarded £20,000 (over 3 years) to the Woodland Trust Scotland (WTS). This money will contribute towards improvements at Ledmore & Migdale Woods (East Sutherland) in including restoration of built heritage; improved access, parking and signage; improved woodland paths; and delivery of a programme of heritage and volunteer activities and outdoor learning.

9.The Kyle of Sutherland Youth Development Group was awarded £24,840 from the Rosehall Community Fund. This is to fund professional fees for full design and planning consent (RIBA Stage D) for a key stage of a capital project towards a youth facility.


10.The RES Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS), at places such as Meikle Carewe in Aberdeenshire, will see give homes and businesses near the wind farm get money off their electricity bills no matter who their supplier is.

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