People and communities across Caithness are set to benefit from a new £3.75 million community fund created by ScottishPower Renewables’ Halsary windfarm.
The 30MW, 15 turbine Halsary windfarm – which came into operation in July 2021 – generates enough clean energy for the equivalent of almost 20,000 homes and was built by ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) specifically to support the green energy needs of Tesco.
In line with SPR’s commitment to supporting the communities around the windfarm and being a sustainable developer and good neighbour, the Halsary Community Benefit Fund will provide £150,000 each year for the next 25 years – delivering almost £4 million for local people and communities.
The three community council areas closest to the windfarm site – Halkirk and District; Latheron, Lybster & Clyth; and Watten – will each directly receive £30,000 per year for projects and initiatives chosen by local people for the benefit of local people.
Stuart Mills, Vice-Chair of Halkirk and District Community Council, said: “ScottishPower Renewables’ community benefit is an important part of the overall package supplied by the renewables developments in the Caithness area.”
Pat Hendry, Secretary of Latheron, Lybster & Clyth Community Council, said: “The grants will allow local groups in Caithness to have funding available to them to provide activities and projects which they would otherwise be unable to afford.”
Eilidh Coll, Community Funds Adviser for Foundation Scotland – which is providing the administrative support for the Halkirk and Watten funds – added: “The ScottishPower Renewables’ community benefit fund will enable communities looking for funding for long-term projects to realise their goals.”
A further £60,000 will be available annually through the Caithness Community Fund, which is open to groups from all across Caithness including the three closet community councils as well as Berriedale and Dunbeath; Bower; Caithness West; Castletown; Dunnet & Canisbay; Sinclair Bay; Tannach & District; Thurso; and Wick Community Councils.
Caithness Voluntary Group provides the administrative support to the decision-making panels for both the Caithness Community Fund and the Latheron, Lybster & Clyth fund.
A spokesperson for the Caithness Community Fund said: “The decision by ScottishPower Renewables to open this fund Caithness-wide is much appreciated and welcomed, allowing a larger number of local groups the chance to apply for windfarm funding, which previously wasn't available to them due to their location within Caithness.
“The Halsary fund gives each group an opportunity to pitch for funding which – in the current financial climate – is much needed by many groups who, without this financial support, would struggle.”
“Our onshore windfarms don’t just produce enough clean, green electricity to power millions of homes”, added Barry Carruthers, SPR’s Managing Director for Onshore. “They have contributed to the development of a vital industry that employs thousands of people, delivers billions in investment, supports an extensive supply chain, and creates real and tangible benefits for local communities. With these dedicated funds, we’re putting money directly into the hands of local communities and empowering them to make the decisions and allocate the funds in the way that will have the greatest impact.”
Siobhan Jarvie, SPR’s Community Liaison Officer, said: “It’s fantastic to see these funds up and running and I can’t wait to see the projects that come forward and make a positive difference for the people and communities across Caithness. This will create a long and lasting legacy from Halsary Windfarm that will deliver right across the region.”
Further details on the funds and how to apply are available online: