Statkraft’s commitment to being a good neighbour

Alison Hood, Principal Community Engagement Manager 

Community benefit funds

With energy prices still high, the case no longer needs to be made for the UK to generate more electricity from renewables. The war in Ukraine has brought into sharp focus our reliance on the volatile price of overseas power. 

Statkraft has the solutions required to deliver a more sustainable and energy secure future and tackle these challenges.

We’re one of the world’s original renewable energy companies, playing an important role in delivering a range of onshore wind farms, mainly in Scotland, which is one of the most cost-effective renewable technologies that can be built quickly.

Onshore wind means clean energy for the benefit of the country, consumers, and the climate. But these projects also can bring massive benefit to communities where they operate.

We place a huge importance on being a good neighbour, and our community benefit funds are one way in which we can do this. 

"As Statkraft’s Principal Community Engagement Manager, I’m focused on building meaningful, personable relationships with the people that live and work close to our projects"

Positive impact

These funds provide much-needed income to support local projects and causes, particularly as cost-of-living challenges mean organisations are having to closely watch their finances. I believe it’s vital that developers like us, and the projects we build, have a positive impact for local communities and businesses.

I’m proud that Statkraft has continued our commitment to delivering a fund of £5,000 per MW installed for all our onshore wind farms in the UK.  

What that means is that a typical modern wind farm consisting of ten turbines would generate around £300,000 every year in community funding, adding up to over £9m across its working life. These are transformational amounts.

Discussions about how our funds can be maximised to benefit those living and working nearby begin during the development phase of a project.

These discussions continue after the project has received planning consent, with the local community being involved in how the fund is set up, and later to help determine which projects are awarded funding. 

"Our community benefit funds are not intended to replace what local or national government has to provide"

Good neighbour

These funds are built around the needs and wants of each community, from energy efficiency projects, to supporting culture and sport, to environmental enhancements or improved facilities for community halls and playground equipment. 

Amounts of a fund can be earmarked to support specific themes. In the case of Baillie Wind Farm in Caithness, part of that wind farm fund is dedicated to supporting new and existing small businesses such as North Coast Watersports.

There’s always a group of dedicated volunteers behind each fund, which helps to keep costs low and increases the amount that can be delivered to community projects.

They deserve a huge amount of credit for all the work they do behind the scenes. With their help, we’ve delivered over £4.5 million to local projects near our UK wind farms so far.

You cannot put a financial value on the impact of supporting a lunch club, which helps an older person avoid social isolation. Or funding the installation of defibrillator in a village, that one day might help save someone’s life. A relatively small grant can have an immeasurable benefit.

Communities can also use our funds to access further matched-funding from other sources, helping to deliver larger projects and initiatives.

"I’m always looking for new ideas, and one of the reasons that I want to meet the people who live near our wind farms, is to find out how this funding can have the most impact"

Long-term commitment

As more wind farms are installed and increased funding becomes available to communities, we at Statkraft - and other developers in the industry - will have to adapt how our funds are used. This includes talking to community representatives about their Community Action Plan, which can be a great way to identify what their needs are and how our funds can help meet them.

Some communities in Scotland now have access to millions of pounds from wind farms and are turning their attention towards legacy projects. One example of this is Statkraft’s policy to fund a broadband feasibility study, during the early development stage of our wind projects.

The first of these, linked to our proposed Loch Liath wind farm, was commissioned in May 2023, and the full report will present a number of options for improving broadband in communities nearby. Improving connectivity is something I’m frequently asked about and I was pleased we were able to enable the study to take place. It’s another example of how developers like us can further support the needs of local businesses and people.

But there is still more to do. Statkraft’s growing pipeline of projects demonstrates our long-term commitment to onshore wind across the UK, and we continue to be fully committed to these vital sources of funding.


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