The initiative which will see the company working with communities across the north of Scotland to channel funds into vital local projects.
The north of Scotland transmission network is set to provide around 10% of the UK’s total carbon reduction required to deliver 2050 net zero targets, and SSEN Transmission believes new funds should recognise the vital role local communities in the area will play in hosting the transmission infrastructure.
The six-week long consultation encouraged groups to share their views on the initial planning for development of the fund and ended with a positive immediate response, with more than 70% of those who responded indicating their support for the initiative.
SSEN Transmission’s community team will analyse all of the feedback received, before publishing a detailed 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 launching it in early 2024.
Once up-and-running, the fund will enable over £10m to be spent on delivering a sustainable and positive legacy for communities in the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Orkney, Shetland, Angus and Argyll.
The company is working with energy regulator Ofgem to move the Community Benefit Fund proposal forward, and is looking to put it in place for transmission infrastructure projects which have already been approved, have an investment value of £100m or more, and for which construction has already commenced or will commence between now and 2026.
Christianna Logan, customers and stakeholders director, said: “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.”
She added: “The initial £10m+ 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.”
Looking to the future, at their Pathway to 2030 projects and beyond, SSEN Transmission is working with the UK and Scottish Governments to establish an even more ambitious community benefit framework for projects that are currently being consulted on and are due to be delivered by the end of the decade and beyond.
Further information more about SSEN Transmission’s community benefit funding plans can be found on the dedicated community fund webpage on its website.