SSEN Transmission has concluded a consultation on its first ever community benefit scheme, which will see communities living near its transmission infrastructure benefit from funding for local projects.
Upgrades to the grid infrastructure to take power from upstream generators to consumers will be necessary as the north of Scotland transmission network is planned to provide 10% of the UK’s carbon reduction required to meet 2050 net zero targets.
Community benefit funds are important to demonstrate for local communities how the upgrades will also benefit them, and SSEN Transmission’s six week consultation sought inputs from stakeholders from across the north of Scotland on the initial planning of the community benefit fund.
Around 170 responses from local residents, authorities and other interested parties were received during the consultaiton, with over 70% of those who responded indicating their support for the initiative.
SSEN Transmission said its community team would analyse the submissions and then publish a report in October. After that, the company will work with stakeholders to establish how the fund will be governed and how investment decisions will be made, before the fund is launched in early 2024.
Next week we’re hosting a public consultation event for a new substation at Fasnakyle near #Cannich as part of our wider Beauly-Denny 400kV upgrade project. Join projects teams at Cannich Village Hall on Tues 5 Sept, 12-5.30pm ⚡️— SSEN Transmission (@SSETransmission) August 29, 2023
Read more: https://t.co/Wh9Fx5aEEF#NetZero pic.twitter.com/lchaD85X7b
SSEN says the fund will enable over £10 million to be spent on “delivering a sustainable and positive legacy for the communities that are hosting large net zero infrastructure assets in the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Orkney, Shetland, Angus and Argyll.”
Working with Ofgem, SSEN Transmission plans to also put Community Benefit Funds in place for other transmission infrastructure projects which have already been approved and have an investment value of £100 million or more.
Speaking on the conclusion of the fund consultation, SSEN Transmission’s director of customers and stakeholders, Christianna Logan, said: “We’re delighted with the response we’ve received from local communities during our six-week consultation on our first community benefit fund in the north of Scotland – as a stakeholder-led business, feedback is crucial in helping to shape our fund strategy, and to have around 170 people taking the time to share their views will be massively helpful. Thanks to everyone who took part.”
“It’s really important that we recognise the vital role that communities are already playing by hosting critical national infrastructure, and getting this fund up-and-running will be a big step in doing just that. The initial £10 million+ will have a lasting positive economic impact in the region and we’re excited to be working with communities and other stakeholders to make sure that investment decisions are made wisely,” Logan added.
SSEN recently received planning permission for a 2GW subsea transmission project with National Grid Electricity Transmission between Scotland and England. The company also recently received planning permission to reinforce the high voltage electricity network which runs from Ardmore on the Isle of Skye to Fort Augustus.
In July, the company announced a number of milestones in securing a supply chain for its Scottish electricity transmission plans.