What is Onshore Wind?

Onshore wind turbines capture the kinetic energy from the wind and convert it into electrical energy for use in our homes and businesses. There are over 160 onshore wind farms in Scotland ranging in size from individual small scale turbines which can power a few homes to large scale sites such as Clyde or Whitelee, which are the biggest in Europe, and have the potential to power tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

Onshore Wind Community Benefit Protocol

Scottish Renewables is committed to ensuring we, as an industry, maximise the benefits of renewable energy for people across Scotland. As part of this commitment, we have worked together with our members to produce an agreed industry protocol for community benefits from new onshore wind developments.

This protocol outlines a consistent approach to community benefits, ensures recognition is given to the value of the partnerships between the onshore wind sector and local communities in Scotland, and encourages further exploration of the potential for community ownership.

The protocol states that onshore wind developers in Scotland will:

  1. Deliver community benefit of £5,000/MW or equivalent for all new wind farms over 50kW*.
  2. Support and follow the forthcoming Community Benefit Good Practice Guidance, which has been developed by the Scottish Government, Local Energy Scotland (LES), Scottish Renewables, Foundation Scotland, Consumer Futures, industry partners, communities and local government.
  3. Sign up all new onshore wind projects to the Scottish Government's community benefit register.
  4. Explore the potential for community ownership and work with the government to create good practice guidance.

This protocol should be reviewed after three years. Scottish Renewables will continue to consult with industry on the details of the protocol and on potentially extending participant eligibility to all new projects as part of the Good Practice Guidance.

*This applies to projects:

  • where community benefit payments have not already been agreed.
  • that have not already reached a final investment decision.

Why is Onshore Wind Important?

Onshore wind is now a fundamental part of our energy mix and our economic and environmental ambitions for the future. The facts speak for themselves; onshore wind accounts for two thirds of our total renewables capacity, generation in 2012 was equivalent to over one fifth of our gross electricity consumption, and investment broke the one billion pound barrier for the first time. Onshore wind’s growth has now meant that renewables are the second biggest generator of electricity in Scotland, ahead of coal and gas. In the next two to three years, thanks largely to planned and consented onshore wind projects, we expect renewables to generate more electricity than any other technology, a position which some said wasn’t possible only a short time ago.

This progress is also having a real and lasting impact on our economy with more than 2,000 people employed directly in the sector and many thousands more in the supply chain and working on developing and upgrading Scotland’s grid network. What is exceptional about this industry is that this progress and growth is sustainable: generating electricity from renewables in Scotland, rather than from traditional sources, meant that in 2011 we prevented over 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 15% of Scotland total emissions.

Recent analysis showed that voluntary community benefit payments from onshore wind projects in Scotland topped some £5m per year.

What is SR doing?

Scottish Renewables works with our members to promote the development of the onshore wind energy sector in Scotland.

We also work with the Scottish and UK Governments, their enterprise agencies, and other relevant organisations such as Scottish Natural Heritage and SEPA to secure the optimal conditions to maximise the development of responsibly sited onshore wind farms.

Much of our work is directed by Scottish Renewables’ Onshore Wind Strategy Group, with input and advice from the Planning Work Group and Environment Work Group. All work groups contain SR member companies who help shape the direction of our work and provide invaluable input and expertise. For more information on the group please contact Joss Blamire.

SR recent achievements in the Onshore Wind sector

  • ‘What You Need to Know’ – document finalised and will be distributed at Onshore Wind Conference on 25 June. • Work started on Community Energy Scotland/SR/SG ‘Good Practice for Community Benefits’ Group. A report is due to be complete by the end of the year.
  • Agreement from SSE, SPR, Vattenfall and RES to part-fund research as part of the Scottish Windfarm Bird Steering Group. Broad research proposals agreed.
  • SG aviation secondment progressed with a list of suitable candidates identified.
  • Joss Blamire chaired the first Onshore Wind Session at All-Energy, promoting the SR Stats pages and leading a debate on planning and NPF3.
  • Progressing Small Wind Planning Guidance document with support from key planning stakeholders - agreed buy in from RTPI; RSPB; NFUS; SG; SEPA

Meet The Team


Joss Blamire is our Senior Policy Manager for Onshore Renewables. His remit includes Onshore wind, hydro, feed-in tariffs, renewables statistics.

E: [email protected]
T: 0141 353 4001