UK energy group SSE has unveiled details of a new Scotland Sustainable Energy fund that could be worth more than £90 million over 25 years if it is able to realise its ambitions for new onshore wind farms in Scotland. The fund will be available for organisations promoting skills development, community energy schemes and improving the built and natural environment. The fund is in addition to the £150 million SSE has already committed to support community projects in Scotland over the 25-year projected lifetime of the company’s existing and planned wind farms.
SSE’s current policy for awarding community funds is based on the installed capacity of its onshore wind farms under construction or in operation and is worth up to £2,500 per annum for each megawatt of generation capacity.
The new commitment will increase the value of SSE’s investment to the equivalent of £5,000 per megawatt for all new onshore wind farms constructed in Scotland from 1st January 2012. This will comprise £2,500 for local community initiatives and £2,500 per megawatt for the new Scotland Sustainable Energy fund.
SSE’s 76MW Strathy North Wind Farm, which was recently consented by Scottish Ministers, will be the first wind farm to benefit from the additional funding, providing a total lifetime fund value of £9.5 million. SSE intends that half of this will be ring-fenced for the community hosting the wind farm and the remainder used to support community projects across the Highland region.
Serving around 10 million customer accounts for electricity, gas and other home services; SSE is one of the UK’s ‘big six’ enetgy companies. It has over 11,000 megawatts of capacity for generating electricity in power stations, hydro electric schemes and wind farms.