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Agreement paves way for community benefit payments of £2.2m-a-year for Shetland

July 29th 2020

Viking Energy Wind Farm (VEWF) is delighted to announce agreement with a Shetland community organisation to manage a community benefit fund which will pay out around £70 million during the construction and lifetime of the wind farm.

The Shetland Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) and VEWF have signed Heads of Terms which will lead to a formal legal agreement for SCBF to receive around £2.2m a year index-linked, once the wind farm begins generating electricity in 2024.

During construction, which starts in August 2020, payment of an advance grant of £400,000 a year will be made to SCBF to help develop its plans and support projects put forward by Shetland’s 18 community councils.

The community benefit funds will be made available in the form of grants, loans and investments. Similar funds in other areas with SSE-owned renewables projects have been spent on a huge range of projects ranging from building community owned houses for the elderly to recycling marine plastic, supporting local apprenticeships and building a community-owned medical centre.      

Commenting on the agreement with SCBF, SSE Renewables managing director Jim Smith said: “We are delighted to reach this stage and we congratulate Shetland Community Benefit Fund on the results of a decade of hard work by its chairman and committee. Not least, they have shown patience and perseverance through the years when it was not clear that the wind farm would go ahead.

“Community benefit schemes associated with other SSE renewables projects have had a major positive impact on their local communities with nearly £38 million being made available to over 3,400 projects since 2008. We are confident that the funds Shetland can look forward to for nearly three decades to come will do much to enhance quality of life in the islands.”

Other direct financial benefits from Viking Wind Farm that are due to start soon include land rent to landowners, such as Shetland Islands Council, and compensation payments to around 200 crofters whose areas of common grazings will form part of the wind farm site. 

In addition, the islands’ community charity Shetland Charitable Trust will earn an income from its previous investment in VEWF once the wind farm is in operation.