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SSE Renewables powers change with £10.4 million donation to UK and Ireland communities

14 Sep 2023

– 2022/23 community investment provides funding boost to over 1,000 projects and over 100 young scholars –

Thursday 14 September 2023: SSE Renewables has donated over £10 million to community groups across the UK and Ireland in the last year.

The multi-million-pound contribution by SSE Renewables to community groups and organisations across Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and England is revealed in the company’s annual Community Investment Review for 2022/23, which is published today.

A total of £10.4 million in wind-powered community funding has been presented to 1,066 UK and Ireland projects, including 168 projects focused on community net zero transition and 111 scholarships. The donations comes from SSE Renewables’ wind farm community funds across both islands, including funding from some of the UK and Ireland’s largest onshore and offshore wind farms.

The contribution to those local communities which host SSE’s wind generation assets once again demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting the economic and social wellbeing of those local communities around the company renewable energy sites. The funds are community-led, with decisions made by local people to ensure the funds focus on the priorities of the local area.

This year, the projects supported range from the provision of energy efficiency measures for households in extreme fuel poverty in the Scottish Highlands to employability supports for young people with autism in Perthshire, and from training support in emerging retrofit technologies for re-skilling workers in Galway to providing warm lunches and social activities in winter to vulnerable residents in North Lincolnshire.

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Renewables said“With renewables now the most cost-effective form of electricity generation, SSE Renewables’ growing portfolio will support a more affordable energy future, and ensure countries have the homegrown, sustainable energy needed to boost energy security.

“SSE Renewables has a long and proud history of sharing the economic value from our renewables assets with communities. Our community funds are crucial in supporting the people and places that host this critical renewable energy infrastructure and given their scale, have the potential to transform the social capital of local places.

“In the last year we have invested more than £10.4 million in 1,066 community projects. This demonstrates that we deliver on our values, and I am proud that the communities we work with continue to grow their ambition. We work with incredibly resilient communities which continually create opportunities and growth for their local areas. This is highlighted by the varied projects they are adopting to achieve a green future. We are delighted to be working collaboratively with these communities as we strive towards net zero.”

Much of this year’s funding has gone towards supporting a green transition as communities seek to increase their focus on reducing carbon intensity. Over £3 million has been donated by SSE Renewables to projects which support a green future including electric-powered community vehicles, insulation for households in extreme fuel poverty, and testing new and innovative approaches to agriculture. The company’s funds have also been supporting communities to deal with the rise in the cost of living. This has included funding additional advice services, increasing funding for capital projects, and supporting community warm space schemes.

SSE Renewables’ funding is also targeting the impacts of living with fuel poverty, particularly on health and wellbeing. In the Scottish Highlands where communities face worse extreme fuel poverty than residents in other areas of Scotland, SSE’s Sustainable Development Fund made its largest award of £1 million to support the Highland Energy Efficiency Programme. This programme provides energy efficiency measures including solar, battery, air source heating and insulation to households in extreme fuel poverty. The support from the Sustainable Development Fund will enable 250 households to have warmer and more efficient homes.

The past year has also marked the completion of the Beatrice Community Fund. A joint venture partnership between SSE Renewables and RRPL, TRiG and Equitix, Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm provided a community fund worth £6 million. The fund has supported 361 local projects including helping 73 rural jobs and enhancing 64 community assets, such as the provision of £50,000 in emergency funding to kickstart a £1.8 million infrastructure project to restore the East Beach Bridge in Lossiemouth after access to the local beach was previously closed for safety reasons. The Beatrice fund has also proven to be successful with research showing 91% of projects are still delivering impact for the local community and 100% of respondents recommending the funding for other communities.

In addition to providing funding support to local groups and organisations, this year’s Community Investment Review also details the education funding support SSE Renewables is providing to young people from its ongoing scholarship programmes. In the last year, the company has supported the provision of scholarships for 111 young students who live near some of the company’s bigger wind farms, including Galway Wind Park in Ireland, Slieve Kirk Wind Park in Northern Ireland, and Dogger Bank Wind Farm in England.

Alongside funding contributions across local communities, 2022/23 has been a year of growth and development for SSE Renewables’ community fund programme and commitments. To meet the growing demands of the programme, the company has implemented a new management structure and recruited new employees with substantial community development and grant management experience.

You can read the SSE Renewables 2022/23 Community Investment Review here.