Europe’s leading generator of renewable energy, which owns and operates three wind farms in Scotland, has committed to carrying out feasibility studies which will focus on the possibility of bringing improved high-speed wireless broadband to Scottish communities at all planned new sites.

Statkraft UK announced the move as its new Scottish HQ in Glasgow was officially opened by Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, and Claire Mack, the Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables. 

The Norwegian utility has ambitions to bring forward 600MW of renewable energy projects in the UK by 2025 with a further 600MW in development. Statkraft’s existing Scottish wind farms are expected to deliver nearly £10 million in local community funding over their lifetime.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands said: “Following the First Minister’s declaration of a global climate emergency, the Scottish Government is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 at the latest – earlier than any other UK nation.

READ MORE: Renewable giant comes to Glasgow

“In 2018, Scotland was able to achieve a record level of renewable energy generation, with almost 74% of Scotland’s electricity demand being met from renewable sources, and with wind energy performing a very significant share of electricity generated and allowing us to decarbonise our power generation faster than most other countries.

“Therefore, it is clear that onshore wind plays a vitally important role in our current energy mix, that this role will continue to be critical to meeting our future energy needs and it is renewable energy projects like the onshore wind farms developed by Statkraft, that will help us achieve our low carbon ambitions.

“I look forward to seeing what more Statkraft can achieve here in Scotland, as we work together with the sector to reach our energy targets and to meet or exceed our World-leading greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.”

David Flood, Managing Director of Statkraft UK said: “We are grateful to the Scottish Government for its lead on renewable energy and to the Minister for helping us to open our new Scottish HQ. We will be making significant investment via construction and operations and look forward to a growing partnership.”

“We are regularly asked by communities near our projects if we can help with broadband coverage and so we are committing to investing in feasibility studies at the early planning stage for our future projects. The result could be enhanced wireless broadband provision where we have wind farms."

READ MORE: David Flood: Climate fight is one where we can all have vital role to play

Claire Mack said: “This commitment from Statkraft shows how renewable energy developments are bringing more than just clean power to communities across Scotland.

“The Scottish Renewable Energy Festival, of which this announcement is part, has been developed with our members to demonstrate where the sector has boosted impacts on jobs, the rural economy, in innovation, across communities and of course, in mitigating climate change.

“Nowhere is that impact more clear than in the provision of sustainable employment in some of our most remote areas. Statkraft’s commitment to developing 600MW of renewable energy projects in the UK by 2025 means it will play a key role in the deployment of the green power capacity we’ll need to meet our stretching climate targets, and the company’s enthusiasm towards working with local communities is even more impressive for that.“

Statkraft already has a number of successful renewables projects in Scotland, including Andershaw Wind Farm in South Lanarkshire, Baillie Wind Farm, west of Thurso and Berry Burn Wind Farm, south of Forres. It is actively developing a number of onshore wind projects across Scotland.