Renewable energy projects in Scotland have generated £20m in benefits for local communities in the last year, according to a new report.
The latest edition of the Register of Community Benefits, which is maintained by Local Energy Scotland, shows that more than 240 energy projects are now helping communities across the country.
In the Highlands, Stroupster Community Fund uses money from Greencoat UK Wind to fund projects to benefit the local area of Dunnet and Canisbay.
The fund has recently made grants available to many local projects including Castletown Parent Council for the purchase and installation of a timber trail in the school playground; Castletown Youth Club for the installation of a heating system in the club’s premises, and Lyth Arts Centre to fund materials and other costs associated with their a community art project.
And in Clackmannanshire the EDF Burnfoot Hill Fund is provided by EDF Renewables, the owner of the Burnfoot Hill, Burnfoot North and Rhodders wind farms.
The fund, which opened in 2011, benefits the communities of Menstrie, Alva, TIllicoutry, Coalsnaughton, Devonside and Dollar in Clackmannanshire and Blackford, Glendevon, Braco and Greenloaning in Perth and Kinross.
An index-linked annual amount that is now circa £100,000 is paid into the fund for the operating life of each of the wind farms.
‘We know that community benefits make a real and transformational difference to communities, and it’s great to see this landmark milestone being reached,’ said Local Energy Scotland’s manager, Chris Morris.
‘The amount of benefit that these payments offer really goes to show their worth, but we appreciate it can be hard to know where to start if groups are thinking of taking advantage of them.’
To support more communities to benefit, Local Energy Scotland recently launched a new Community Benefits Toolkit.
The toolkit was designed to make it even easier for communities to secure, set up and mange funds and wider packages of community benefits from renewable energy schemes.
‘It is fantastic news that £20m of community benefit payments has been made to communities across the country in the past 12 months,’ said Scottish Renewables’ director of policy, Morag Watson.
‘Scotland’s renewable energy industry looks forward to continued engagement with communities as we work towards our ambitious net-zero target.’
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