LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - Swedish utility Vattenfall said the Scottish government has given consent for it to build a 170-megawatt wind farm in southwest Scotland, enabling it to speed up talks with local communities about buying a share in the project.
Vattenfall submitted a planning application for the 50-turbine, onshore South Kyle wind farm four years ago.
The firm wants to offer the East Ayrshire and north Galloway communities the right to acquire an interest of up to 5 percent in the scheme.
Vattenfall also plans to provide a community benefit fund of 5,000 pounds ($6,482.50) per megawatt installed per year over the operational lifetime of the wind farm.
The firm intends to consider the consent decision in detail before confirming the timetable for construction.
"Of course there is a long way to go before Vattenfall is able to construct and operate this wind farm, but if constructed, this will be a wind farm that we hope local people and businesses will take pride in," Guy Mortimer, Vattenfall's UK head of development for onshore wind, said in a statement. ($1 = 0.7713 pounds) (Reporting by Nina Chestney, editing by Louise Heavens)