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Major step forward for largest onshore wind community funds in the UK

20 May 2024

Shetland Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) and SSE Renewables have signed new legal agreement for managing the Viking Community Benefit Fund payments for the lifetime of the wind farm.

Communities across Shetland will benefit from the £2.2 million a year fund which will be the largest onshore wind community benefit fund in the UK. Around £72 million will help fund local projects over the lifetime of the wind farm.

Shetland Community Benefit Fund will oversee the administration of the fund to ensure that all funding decisions are made by local people for the benefit of Shetland.

SSE Renewables has agreed the SCBF initial five-year Business Plan, developed after a major island-wide consultation, which looks to support community schemes while devoting most of the funds to major strategic projects that will help make lasting changes for the islands. Priority areas include reducing the cost of living, improving broadband and encouraging young people stay and return to the islands.

The first funding will be made once the 103- turbine Viking Wind Farm becomes operational later this summer.

SSE Renewables Senior Community Investment Manager, Lindsay Dougan, said:

“We are committed to providing a lasting legacy for Shetland’s communities, the fund, which is one of the largest onshore funds in the UK, has already provided over 420 awards to local projects during the construction of Viking Wind Farm. The announcement today is a pivotal point and further underlines our commitment to work with local people to ensure Shetland benefits.”

SCBF chair, Chris Bunyan, added:

“The legal agreement and Business Plan represents the culmination of many years work but, to coin a phrase, was only the end of the beginning.  The really hard part starts now in identifying and supporting local projects.  We will be publicising widely what the fund can support and how to apply.”

Copies of the SCBF business plan, the consultation, and details of the various funds that can be applied for are all available on the SCBF website.