GREEN energy bosses have highlighted the contribution onshore wind farms make to Scotland’s economy – with such sites paying more than £100 million in business rates.

Claire Mack, chief executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, said the payments are “just one part of the onshore wind industry’s contribution to Scotland’s economy”.

Scottish Renewables calculated that rates payments amounted to more than £106m a year.

Wind farms pay rates like any other business, with the money collected by local councils before being distributed by the Scottish Government to help fund local services.

Payments were highest in the Highland Council area – where onshore wind farms have a total capacity of more than 1800 megawatts (MW) – with rates there amounting to more than £23 million.

In South Lanarkshire, where the wind capacity is almost 1200MW, rates payments from wind farms came in at more than £15m, according to figures from Scottish Renewables.

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Mack said the figures show the benefits such developments can bring are more than just environmental.

She said: “Business rates are just one more example of the benefits onshore wind projects bring to some of the most remote parts of our country at a time when investment there is badly needed.

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

“These new figures show just one part of the onshore wind industry’s contribution to Scotland’s economy.  “But it’s one which is hidden from public view and often overlooked when the benefits of these developments are discussed.

“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.”