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Thursday, May 23, 2024

SSE Renewables Powers The Highlands to a Net Zero Future  

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SSE Renewables has awarded more than £1.5million to twenty transformational projects across the Highlands, to help communities respond to the climate emergency.

The hosting of COP26 in Glasgow in November last year highlighted the growing climate emergency, and now, the Sustainable Development Fund is supporting local communities to take action.

Twenty projects from across the Highlands have received support, ranging from environmental education in Kinlochbervie and de-carbonising heat in community facilities in Golspie to active travel in Skye.

The projects show the breadth of activity being taken by Highland communities to tackle climate change.

One recipient is the Thurso Community Development Trust which has received a grant of more than £89k to deliver a socially growing project. 

Their intention is to combine two social enterprises – a zero waste refill shop and greenhouses for commercial growing.

The project aims to focus on training opportunities for young people whilst also contributing to the Trust’s vision of making Thurso the first net zero town in Scotland.

John Lawrie development manager of Thurso Community Development Trust said:

“The funding from SSE Renewables will be hugely beneficial for the Thurso Community Development Trust.

“It will help us develop our social enterprise Socially Growing which focuses on local food production through our Greenhouses and plastic free shopping, climate change advice and support in our shop.

“Most importantly, Socially Growing offers training and support to our community especially young people in climate, land and enterprise skills.

“The funding enables us to take a big leap forward with that work in employing a Support Manager giving our community the skills towards Thurso becoming net zero and combating climate change.

“In addition, Gro for Good received £75k to support the development of a Community Innovation Campus in Tain.

“The project supports the transition to sustainable agriculture methods in the Highlands and it will include the creation of a ‘mini Eden project’ dome, which will provide information on consumer awareness and behavioural change surrounding food and drink in relation to net zero.”

Hugh Fullerton-Smith Managing Director of Gro for Good said:

“The SSE Renewables grant has proved an enormous boost for our Community Innovation Campus project and has set a real precedent for other companies to follow suit and sponsor domes.

“Timely climate change solutions will form a real backbone of many aspects of the campus curriculum and these include a major focus on sustainable food production and Zero Waste.

“The project will lead a grass-roots movement towards developing sustainable communities that can be scaled both nationally and globally.

“The Campus will feature innovative training and education conducted in 11 Geodesic Domes adjacent to the famous ‘North Coast 500’. Funding for the first of the Geodesic Domes is now secure thanks to the award from the SSE Renewables Highland Sustainable Development Fund.”

Finlay McCutcheon SSE renewables director of onshore renewables (Europe) said:

“We are currently facing a significant climate emergency and communities in the Highlands have shown they are taking serious action to support net zero.

“Net zero is incredibly close to the heart of what we do.

“We have ensured the funding will help the local community to respond to these unprecedented challenges and help the region deliver on its low carbon ambitions – making a real and lasting difference for many years to come.”

Councillor Raymond Bremner leader of Highland Council said:

“We welcome SSE Renewables’ commitment to establishing the Highland Sustainable Fund.

“Highland communities have been at the forefront in their drive to address the climate emergency.

“The funding provides significant opportunities for community development of projects across the region.

“As a region, we face a challenging transition towards net zero.

“It is heartening to have companies like SSE Renewables take a socially responsible role in the Highlands.

“Our region provides an abundance of natural resources.

“I hope this forms the catalyst for future commercial and public sector collaboration in delivering a just transition for all Highland residents.”

The Highland Sustainable Development Fund is in addition to the local community funds from onshore wind farms owned and operated by SSE Renewables, Stronelairg Wind Farm Ltd, and Dunmaglass Wind Farm Ltd.

The aim of the Sustainable Development Fund in Highland is to support strategic projects in regions where SSE Renewables operates. 

The fund brings the benefits of onshore wind energy developments to a wider area and is directed at projects that can achieve significant impacts in local communities.

List of projects awarded:

ApplicantProject DescriptionAward
Arkaig Community ForestTo establish a native tree nursery and plant propagation unit as a community social enterprise.£52,500.00
Glengarry Community WoodlandTo establish an eco-tourist business, to create jobs and to support the woodland’s restoration.£55,000.00
Thurso Community Development TrustTo deliver a socially growing project.£89,802.00
Able 2 AdventureTo create an Accessibility Hub within the Cairngorms National Park.£70,000.00
Glencoe Folk MuseumTo support a museum re-development, with funding focused on net zero elements of the project.£140,000.00
The LedgeTo make new climbing venue environmentally friendly.£46,351.00
Engaging with Activity CICProvision of a sustainable, less expensive to run, more carbon neutral 5-seater electric vehicle£35,293.00
Farr North Community Development TrustAn electric vehicle-based new community transport project to help defeat social and economic disadvantage caused by the extreme rurality.£32,221.00
Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community CompanyTo provide electric vehicles and bicycles for use by Sunflower Home Care workers in the 3 Glens area of Fort Augustus, Glenmoriston and Glengarry£85,035.00
Loch Ness HubTo purchase an electric vehicle for community use, and to support local families to access wraparound childcare.£30,000.00
North West Highland GeoparkEmploying an Education Officer to deliver activities identified by young people in the Geopark.£61,162.00
Clyne Heritage SocietyTo redevelop a derelict school into a heritage centre, with funding focused on net zero elements of the project.£90,000.00
Go Golspie Development TrustTo regenerate a community building, with funding focused on net zero elements of the project.£50,035.00
North Land CreativeTo reduce the carbon impact of community buildings.£48,000.00
Tain Heritage TrustTo support the restoration of a heritage site, with funding focused on net zero elements of the project.£71,055.00
John O’Groats Mill Trust A Power for the Community: utilising the built and natural heritage around John O’Groats to deliver sustainable social, environmental and economic benefit to the community.£250,000.00
Broadford & Strath Community CompanySkye Cycle Way: A community-initiated project to create the first section of a safe, accessible active travel path between the Skye Bridge and Broadford.£100,000.00
Re:Circulate SutherlandTo reduce and reuse plastic from croft farming.£14,350.00
Gro for Good To support the development of a Community Innovation Campus in Tain, and the funding will support salary costs and the installation of a Geodome.  The project encourages a triple impact model that combines accessible and innovative youth development, sustainable practices and community empowered regeneration with a grassroots approach, transforming communities across the world.£75,000.00
Elsie Normington FoundationTo build a specialist Haven Centre for learning disabled children and young people in Inverness, with funding focussed on net zero elements.£150,000.00
Total £1,545,904.00
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