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Fergus Ewing: Scotland has a positive story to tell on power as new research shows Scotland’s economy gets 'more than £106 million a year in business rates payments from onshore wind'

By Staff Reporter

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New research from Scottish Renewables has found that more than £106 million a year in business rates payments from onshore wind flows into Scotland’s economy. This of course means the revenue benefits our public services.

Business rates are paid by power projects in much the same way as any other business and are a tax on non-domestic properties to help pay for local services like education, social care or waste management.

In real terms, the money raised is enough to educate almost 14,000 secondary school children or build more than 750 council houses.

The results of this research show that onshore wind projects in the Highland Council region contribute the most business rates every year, amounting to £23 million.

The figures are very welcome and highlight just one part of the onshore wind industry’s contribution to Scotland’s economy – but one often hidden from public view when the benefits of these developments are discussed.

Onshore wind is already the backbone of Scotland’s electricity system, producing the equivalent of 60.2 per cent of our electricity demand and employing almost 9000 people.

The money also flows into local businesses from onshore wind farm construction and maintenance, with projects adding £2.4 billion to Scotland’s economy in 2019. Developers also make more than £22 million a year in voluntary community benefit payments, which local people can spend on projects which matter to their area.

With so much public and climate benefits, at a time when we are globally reviewing our carbon footprint, Scotland has a really positive story to tell.

As such, I am doing all I can within parliament to highlight these opportunities and work with the energy sector on many projects.

I recently held a member debate to highlight the success story of our solar energy sector and my thanks go to all members who contributed positively to the debate. There was a strong sense of agreement across party benches on the importance of the industry and its future prospects.

By use of rooftop solar energy, bills can be cut massively for public bodies including the likes of local authorities and the NHS. Rooftop mounted solar is already being used at the Nairn Community Centre, for example, where energy needs of the community are being met through a greener source of energy.

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