SSE launches Dunmaglass wind farm community fund
SSE has awarded £1.6 million to three community groups in Inverness-shire at the launch of its Dunmaglass Wind Farm Community Fund.
The funds will be split equally between the local communities of Strathnairn, Strathdearn, and Stratherrick and Foyers, and will total £14m over the lifespan of the project.
Originally scheduled to be paid on completion of the wind farm, SSE has brought forward the first payments as part of its commitment to start community benefit payments at the construction phase of its projects.
Representatives from Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust, Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund Ltd and Strathdearn Community Development Company – nominated to receive and distribute the windfarm funds – visited Stratherrick Hall to mark the launch.
They were joined by Councillor Margaret Davidson, Leader of The Highland Council, and George Baxter, Head of Development Strategy, from SSE Renewables.
George Baxter said: “SSE is a responsible developer of renewable energy schemes and that means helping communities that host our renewable developments to realise social and economic benefits that will sustain over time.
“We look forward to working with each community group to make full use of these funds, and those that will follow, to make a real and lasting difference in their area.”
Zoe Iliffe, Chair of Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust, said: “We welcome the recent payment from SSE which means the Trust is now able to make the significant improvements to life in our area which local people want. The Trust has nearly 200 local members and all decisions are taken by our local, elected board of directors.
“The Trust will work with local community groups get the funding they need for their projects now. For the future, we are also planning to invest in larger legacy projects which will make a positive difference for everyone living in Stratherrick and Foyers. We are also looking at longer term investments to ensure that our community benefit income will continue for future generations.”
As a signal of its long-term commitment to the area, SSE will be providing more than £14m in funding to support community projects over the 25-year lifespan of the project.
This will include annual payments both to the nominated trusts supporting the three local communities around the site, as well as an allocation to SSE’s Highland Sustainable Development Fund which is available across the region.
The 33-turbine project, which SSE acquired from RES in May 2013, is located on Dunmaglass estate, approximately 25km south of Inverness and will have a generating capacity of 94MW.
IMAGE: George Baxter from SSE Renewables, Council Leader Margaret Davidson, James Macpherson of Strathdearn, Sharon Ferguson of Stratherrick and Foyers, and Mike Fitzgerald of Strathnairn