Sustainable Development Fund

The Sustainable Development Fund is in addition to our local community funds and supports strategic projects in the regions where SSE is operating. It allows the benefits of our renewable energy developments to be accessible to a wider area and is directed to projects that can achieve significant impact in local communities. So far we have supported £3million in grants through the Sustainable Development Fund.

The fund supports projects which take a longer term view by delivering transformational social, economic and/or environmental changes in the community and develop sustainable ventures for the future.

We will make funds available within any local authority where an SSE wind farm was constructed after 1 January 2012 and expect the fund could be worth over £50 million over the next 25 years.

Borders SDF Fund

Currently closed – due to open in 2019.

Perthshire SDF Fund

Currently closed – due to open in 2019.

Dumfries and Galloway SDF Fund

Currently closed - due to open in 2018.

Highland SDF Fund

The Highland Sustainable Development Fund is currently open for applications.

The criteria for the fund is as follows and more information is available on the fund guidelines and application form documents which are included below:

  • Creating opportunities – increased opportunities for education and employment
  • Empowering communities – build resilience and protect vulnerable residents
  • Building sustainable places – stimulate meaningful community regeneration

Completed applications should be sent to Marianne Townsley by 12 Noon on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

Highland Sustainable Development Fund - Guidelines
Highland Sustainable Development Fund - Application Form

South Lanarkshire SDF Fund

Currently closed - due to open Winter 2018.

More information


Following  consultation with regional stakeholders in 2015, the following themes have been established and any successful application must fit in to at least one of these areas:

  1. Creating opportunities – Create or enhance opportunities for education and employment through activities that develop skills and improve an individual’s chance of entering the workplace.
  2. Empowering communities – Empower communities to become more resilient and protect vulnerable residents through measures which demonstrate long-term social, environmental or economic improvements.
  3. Sustainable places – Stimulate meaningful regeneration to improve or enhance local infrastructure, landscape, biodiversity or heritage and make a lasting difference to the places we live, work and visit.

Additional consideration will be given to projects that demonstrate:

  • Value for money – evidence that the project has a high local impact for the amount invested.
  • Community involvement – evidence that the community has been engaged in developing the project. This may be in the form of surveys, community consultations, open days or letters of support. 
  • Financial Sustainability – evidence that the project will be maintained beyond the period of grant funding.
  • Contribution to local economy – evidence that the project will have a positive impact on the local economy in the long term.

You can download our guide to accessing funding below in the Important Documents section.

Please note: The fund cannot support individuals, or groups without a constitution.


An external panel has been set up to review applications and determine which projects should receive funding. Chaired by Lord Jack McConnell, the five-strong panel has expertise in each of the three priority areas of the fund.

Rt. Hon. Lord Jack McConnell, Chairperson
Jack McConnell served as First Minister from 2001 to 2007 during which time he refreshed and launched Scotland’s international image. He established Scotland’s International Development policy; introduced the Fresh Talent initiative to encourage in-migration and a national youth volunteering programme, Project Scotland. He was appointed to the House of Lords in June 2010 and has continued his work in Africa tackling poverty, including building on the relationship between Scotland and Malawi.

Professor Jan Bebbington
Jan Bebbington is the director of the St Andrews Sustainability Institute at the University of St Andrews. Her research interests focus around the themes of organisational responses to the global climate change agenda as well as how governance regimes for sustainable development might be developed at organisational, regional and country level.

Damien Yeates
Damien Yeates was appointed Chief Executive of Skills Development Scotland in June 2008. During the past decade he has initiated a number of highly innovative and successful programmes to promote skills and lifelong learning, including the establishment of the Digital Media Academy, the Community Technology Academy Network and the Blended Learning of Construction Skills (BLOCS) programme.

Professor James Hunter
Jim Hunter is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Between 1998 and 2004 he was chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and is the author of eleven books about the region. He is also an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. Professor Hunter was made a CBE in 2001. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2007.

Alan Young
Alan Young is Managing Director, Corporate Affairs at SSE. He joined SSE in 2001 and is responsible for corporate communications, public affairs, community programmes and sustainable development policy.



For more information on the Sustainable Development Fund, please contact:

Lindsay Dougan
Community Investment Manager
T: 0141 224 7729

Marianne Townsley
Community Investment Manager
T: 01463 728069