Thursday November 2nd 2023
Communities in the South of Scotland are to boosted by almost £900m over the next 35 years from the benefits of onshore wind farms, a new study finds.
The regeneration body, South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), has published statistics estimating the potential scale of opportunity for local communities from onshore wind community benefits.
The study has identified the vast potential opportunities available, including an estimated £12m per year which could be generated by 2033 through community benefit funding. This figure could increase to nearly £70m per year by 2058.
The cumulative value of this over the next 35 years could be nearly £900m – 30 times as much as the total value of community benefit funding received from 1996 to 2023.
The publication of the study follows an onshore wind sector agreement made between Scottish Government and the industry in September, which lays out how both will work together to harness the full potential of onshore wind to benefit communities, boost the economy and reduce carbon emissions.
The South of Scotland study highlights an opportunity of this magnitude could be transformative for the region – equivalent to more than six Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deals.
However, it is not guaranteed, with the scale of future funding available dependent on future developments, re-powering existing developments and on the specifics of individual community benefit agreements.
SOSE and partners Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders councils are looking at how best they can work with and support communities through their existing work in the region.
It is hoped this will help to ensure communities are able to maximise their opportunities arising from community benefit and future shared ownership.
Professor Russel Griggs, chair of SOSE, said: “It is important to emphasise to everyone that community benefits from wind farms belong to local communities and will stay that way.
“The findings of the onshore wind report we have commissioned, alongside the recent Sector Deal for onshore wind, includes a commitment to enhance community benefits. As a result, it feels like this is the right time to be increasing the collective understanding around community benefits in the South of Scotland.
“We think it is vital to understand what has worked well for communities so far in the South and elsewhere, and what could be improved for the future. We would like to showcase best practice and find out whether there are barriers to other opportunities, such as shared ownership, for example.
“I look forward to working with our communities and partners to achieve our collective goal, to maximise the benefit for the South.”
The full report is available to read at southofscotlandenterprise.com/onshorewindreport.
If you are from a community with experience of community benefit and wish to share your knowledge with SOSE, you can provide your feedback HERE..Tweet Share on Facebook