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New report highlights economic value to Scotland of four Sutherland wind farms

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Four wind farms in Sutherland are expected to contribute £485 millon to the wider economy in their lifetime, according to a newly published report from SSE Renewables.

The Strathy North, Achany, Gordonbush and Gordonbush Extension wind farms are expected to contribute £327 million to the Scottish economy with the Highlands benefiting to the tune of £131 million.

A wind farm blade negotiates its way over the bridge at Brora on its way to the Gordonbush Extension. Picture: Jim Cunningham
A wind farm blade negotiates its way over the bridge at Brora on its way to the Gordonbush Extension. Picture: Jim Cunningham

The analysis for the report entitled ‘Delivering Investment, Supporting Jobs – Understanding the socio-economic value for SSE Renewables’ projects in Sutherland’ was provided by economic consultancy BIGGAR Economics.

As well as the economic contribution to the projects, the report shows the wider socio-economic benefits from the wind farms’ community benefit funds which are provided over the 25-year operational lifetime of the developments.

The report shows that there will be £23.1 million of direct funding available to Sutherland communities over the wind farms’ lifetime with £6.9 million already spent.

Some 591 projects in the county boosting skills development, education and responsible tourism and helping build sustainable communities, have been supported since 2010.

SSE Renewables managing director Jim Smith said: “With help from BiGGAR Economics, we have quantified some of our socio-economic impacts and can see the scale of the economic contribution from our onshore wind developments in Sutherland.

“Millions of pounds and hundreds of jobs have been supported and retained in the local, regional and national economies and – crucially – the benefits will continue throughout the projects’ operational lives.

“Through our direct actions and that of our supply chain, we create local jobs and make a positive contribution to Scottish and UK GDP.

“We are part of these Highland communities for the long-term and this report lays out our ongoing commitment to share in the value we’ve created.”

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