A £10 million fund is being launched by DONG Energy to help local community projects on the UK East Coast over the next 20 years.
The East Coast Community Fund is being set up to ensure that local people benefit from the operation of two of the company's offshore wind farms – Race Bank and Hornsea Project One – which are both now under construction. It will distribute around half a million pounds a year to help local initiatives for each of the next 20 years.
"We believe local people should get a chance to benefit from the construction and operation of offshore wind farms which are some of the UK's biggest energy infrastructure projects," said Brent Cheshire, UK Country Chairman of DONG Energy.
"Although our wind farms are located offshore, their transmission connections require onshore facilities and our construction and operations bases are very much a part of local communities. This fund is a practical way in which we can say thank you for the fantastic support we get."
The East Coast Community Fund will be managed and administered by an independent grant-making charity to be appointed shortly. One of their early tasks will be to launch a public consultation on how and where the funds can be distributed most effectively.
Race Bank is a 580-megawatt project being built off the North Norfolk coast that will be capable of meeting the electricity needs of over half million UK homes when it becomes fully operational in 2018.
Construction of the onshore substations and installation of around12 kilometres of onshore cable, from Walpole to a point north of Sutton Bridge, has been ongoing since last year, and work will soon begin offshore. A vital part of the project will be to the installation of two export cables in the area of the sea defence and the salt marsh. This is due to start in early May.
Hornsea Project One, a 1.2 gigawatt offshore windfarm to be built about 75 miles off the Yorkshire coast, will be able to generate enough electricity to supply over one million UK homes. It is due to be fully operational in 2020.