wind turbines

New estimates highlight potential for local communities from onshore wind

We have published a new study estimating the potential scale of opportunity for local communities from onshore wind community benefits.

The study has identified the vast potential opportunities available from onshore wind for the communities of the South of Scotland.

These include:

  • An estimated £12million per year which could be generated by 2033 through community benefit funding. 
  • This figure could increase to nearly £70m per year by 2058.  
  • The cumulative value of this over the next 35 years could be nearly £900m - 30 times as much as the total value of community benefit funding received from 1996 to 2023. 

The full report is available to read here

Significant opportunity 

The publication of the study follows an onshore wind sector agreement made between Scottish Government and the industry last month, which lays out how both will work together to harness the full potential of onshore wind to benefit communities, boost the economy and reduce carbon emissions.

The South of Scotland study - produced by BiGGAR Economics - highlights an opportunity of this magnitude could be transformative for the region - equivalent to more than six Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deals.

However, it is not guaranteed, with the scale of future funding available dependent on future developments, re-powering existing developments and on the specifics of individual community benefit agreements.

We and partners Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders councils are looking at how best they can work with and support communities through their existing work in the region. 

It is hoped this will help to ensure communities are able to maximise their opportunities arising from community benefit and future shared ownership. 


If you are from a community with experience of community benefit and wish to share your knowledge with SOSE, you can provide your feedback here.  

What are Community Benefits?

  • Community Benefits are voluntary arrangements offered by renewable energy businesses to communities located near developments.
  • Community benefits provide an opportunity for communities to work with renewable energy businesses for the long-term benefit of the community.
  • They are a well-established, integral part of renewable energy developments and can represent a positive relationship between renewable energy developers and communities.

Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of SOSE said: 

“It is important to emphasise to everyone that community benefits from wind farms belong to local communities and will stay that way.

“The findings of the onshore wind report we have commissioned, alongside the recent Sector Deal for onshore wind, includes a commitment to enhance community benefits. As a result, it feels like this is the right time to be increasing the collective understanding around community benefits in the South of Scotland.

“We think it is vital to understand what has worked well for communities so far in the South and elsewhere, and what could be improved for the future. We would like to showcase best practice and find out whether there are barriers to other opportunities, such as shared ownership, for example.

“I look forward to working with our communities and partners to achieve our collective goal, to maximise  the benefit for the South.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE added:

“The report we commissioned outlines the transformative opportunity available from the monetary benefit that could flow to the South from onshore wind across the region. 

“We are also interested in what more could be done with communities on a wider basis, including other technologies, community benefit from the wider supply chain and labour market opportunities.”