WORKING CLOSELY WITH THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH WE OPERATE

Community Benefit Fund

This year, SSEN Transmission is excited to launch its first Community Benefit Fund with the aim of bringing positive benefits and a long-lasting legacy to communities across the north of Scotland. The fund reflects SSEN Transmission’s planned £20bn investment in the transmission network by 2030.  

This investment in infrastructure is needed to unlock cleaner, more secure energy for homes and businesses for generations to come, helping to accommodate an expected 50% increase in electricity demand by 2035. It will also contribute to the decarbonisation of the electricity network and the achievement of net zero targets.  

Following a UK Government announcement on community benefits from transmission infrastructure in November 2023, SSEN Transmission estimates the value of future community funds from our current investment plans to be in of excess of £100m. This is subject to the details of the finalised Government guidance and approval from Ofgem and is expected to apply to all major, new transmission infrastructure in the UK. 

We have listened to the feedback from our 2023 consultation on the proposed approach to community benefit funding and we will use this to develop the funding process before we formally launch the fund later this year.

A member of the local community engages with an SSEN Transmission employee on plans for an upcoming project, demonstrating our community focus and collaborative approach.

 

Our Community Benefit Fund

Following an extensive stakeholder consultation exercise in 2023, SSEN Transmission will launch its first Community Benefit Fund in 2024 aimed at funding a range of projects across the north of Scotland.  

Our network in the north of Scotland will play a leading role in the clean energy transition, connecting and transporting renewable electricity from wind, hydro and marine generation. The Community Benefit Fund will allow a share of the benefits to go directly to those communities hosting this new infrastructure.  

The UK Government carried out its own consultation on community benefits arising from transmission network infrastructure and their final guidance is expected this year. The Government response to their consultation can be read here. SSEN Transmission has already made a commitment to deliver the first stage of our Community Benefit Fund this year. 

Our Community Benefit Fund plans involve a local and a wider regional element. The regional element will consider applications from projects anywhere in the north of Scotland region covered by SSEN Transmission. That area can be found here. We anticipate that the regional projects will be of higher value and have a greater transformational impact. The local funds will be solely for communities who are situated close to new infrastructure and we will provide more information in due course on how we plan to administer this. These local communities will be able to apply for both elements of the fund. 

Our consultation showed over 70% of respondents were supportive of the initiative and all the feedback will be taken into account as we design the scheme. The six-week long consultation invited stakeholders from across the north of Scotland to share their views on our initial plans for the fund. The consultation received around 140 responses from local authorities, community members and other interested parties. 

Given the huge amount of investment planned as part of the Pathway to 2030 network improvements, it is expected that community benefits funds associated with new planned infrastructure will be in excess of £100m; this is subject to the final UK Government guidance and approval from our industry regulator Ofgem. 

We will publish more details in due course on timescales, eligibility, transparent decision making and the application process.  We expect that priority will be given to those projects that deliver on our two identified themes of: 

  • People, focusing on skills, training and employability; and 
  • Place, emphasising the community and culture of the north of Scotland 

We will continue to work with the energy regulator, Ofgem, to move the Community Benefit Fund forward for transmission infrastructure projects which have already been approved, have an investment value of £100m or more, and for which construction has already commenced.  

Director of Customers and Stakeholders, Christianna Logan, said:

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“We are excited to be making progress with our first ever community benefit fund in anticipation of UK Government guidance that will ensure that communities across the north of Scotland will benefit from the investment that we are making in the electricity transmission network. 

With our planned £20bn investment in infrastructure, it is fair that communities are able to share some of the benefits of this much needed work. As a stakeholder led business, we will take learning from our community benefit consultation last year, and the guidance from Government and the Energy Regulator as we work up the detail of the fund. 

Based on our ambitious investment plans and indications from Government on the anticipated scale of community benefit funding, we expect the value of the community benefit fund to be over £100m and we will work with communities and partners to maximise the impact that this can have for local communities.” 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Community Benefit Fund

Strong support for SSEN Transmission's proposals for a Community Benefit Fund

In July 2023, SSEN Transmission launched a six week consultation to seek views on plans for a community benefit scheme, the first of its kind for a Transmission Owner.  Over 135 organisations and individuals gave feedback on our proposal to set up a Community Benefit Fund.   

A member of our Communities team meets with a member of the local Shetland community to discuss works happening in the area. The photograph captures SSEN Transmission's community spirit.
  • Our Sustainability Strategy

    Our first priority is to safely deliver a robust, efficient and reliable network to our customers in the north of Scotland. In delivering this essential service, we also have a responsibility to ensure this need is met in the most responsible way possible. Learn more about our six sustainability focus areas in which we hope to deliver our sustainability ambitions.

  • Supporting over 20,000 UK jobs

    SSEN Transmission’s £10 billion programme of investment into the transmission network across the north of Scotland will play a key role in enabling the connection of up to 11GW of new offshore wind capacity through ScotWind projects, enough to power more than ten million homes in the UK and supporting 20,000 jobs across the UK, 9,000 of which will be in Scotland.
  • UK Government consultation closes

    Given the scale and rate of change required for the transformation of the electricity network, the UK Government is keen to review how community benefits are delivered. It wants to introduce the necessary measures to ensure communities feel they are positively benefitting from hosting electricity transmission network infrastructure that is supporting the delivery of national objectives.