Wind farm operators £5m a year to ‘community benefits’

Picture: GettyPicture: Getty
Picture: Getty
SCOTTISH wind farm operators such as SSE and Scottish Power are now paying out more than £5 million a year in “community benefits”, according to trade body Scottish Renewables.

The group says payments such as SSE’s £620,000 grant to the Biggar Museum Trust and E.ON’s £20,000 commitment to the Woodland Trust Scotland’s work in Sutherland have taken the pay-outs to record levels.

The trade body’s senior policy manager Joss Blamire, who will be speaking today at the Scottish Renewables onshore wind conference at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, said the figure would soon be “much higher” as more developers signed up schemes to a national register.

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“It’s fantastic to see that onshore wind developers are working directly with communities to provide local causes in Scotland with more than £5m in voluntary funding every year,” he said.

“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.”

He said community benefits were not just financial and could 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,” he said.