Communities across Scotland are now receiving £5 million a year from onshore wind farm operators, according to new figures.
The Scottish Government Register of Community Benefit from Renewables was launched in September last year and provides a central base for developers to log details of the support they provide.
It shows SSE’s Clyde wind farm community fund awarded the Biggar Museum Trust a £620,000 grant, RWE npower renewables invested more than £407,000 across its Scottish wind farm portfolio and E.ON’s Rosehall fund awarded £20,000 over three years to the Woodland Trust Scotland.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the work is helping the Government’s target of generating 500MW – equivalent to the electricity demand for 230,000 homes – from community renewable projects by 2020, which could be worth up to £2.4 billion over the lifetime of the projects.
The news follows latest statistics from the Scottish Government which showed more than 200MW of renewable generating capacity came from community and locally owned energy projects.
Mr Ewing said: “For local projects to deliver that amount of renewable generating capacity is a great success and it’s down to all the people in our communities, helped and supported by the Scottish Government and others. Community renewable schemes can play a terrific role in building awareness and support for renewable energy as a whole in Scotland.
“Community projects have been taken up with huge enthusiasm across the country and especially in the Highland and Islands. I think that smaller and more remote communities in particular can see the obvious benefits of using the resources surrounding them to help increase their independence and security of supply.”
More than 600MW of projects are currently at different stages of development and planning in Scotland.
Last month Scotland launched a new facility to help the offshore renewables sector in the country.