REMOTE communities across Scotland are sharing a multi-million-pound cash bonanza generated by the wind and rain that batters them. Over the past decade, nearly £50 million has been paid to communities from the proceeds of wind farms that have been built nearby. The money has been spent on a diverse range of schemes, from the renovation of village halls and bowling clubs, to taking school pupils on day trips, providing musical tuition and giving everyone in the community new Christmas lights. In other cases, canny investors who have pumped savings into buying shares in community energy schemes are reaping up to eight per cent return on their investment – far more than they might hope for in any high street savings account. Such is the clamour to invest in renewable schemes, the latest share offer that calls for community investors to purchase the first of £1.89m worth of shares in six hydroelectric projects across the Highlands raised one-third of the money required within days. Indeed, demand for a share of the windfall means the offer is likely to be over-subscribed. But the real money-spinners are the lucrative community agreements made in the early stages of wind-farm planning, which has led to millions being distributed for the good of the surrounding area.
Herald 14th Oct 2018 read more »