Offshore wind farm developer commits to lasting North-east legacy with annual cash fund

A community fund scheme aimed at generating lasting legacies for North-east communities is being created by the developer behind the region’s pioneering European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

Swedish energy group Vattenfall is to establish a community investment scheme by investing £150,000 every year for the operational life of the more than £300m offshore wind test and demonstration centre. The EOWDC is expected to operate for 20-years which means the fund could be worth as much as £3mn over the lifetime of the project.

Vattenfall’s EOWDC project director, Adam Ezzamel, said: “Vattenfall wants the EOWDC fund to support communities in Aberdeen and the Shire for the lifetime of the wind farm which is expected to be around 20 years. How a lasting legacy will secure best outcomes from the EOWDC fund will in large part be determined by those who are to benefit. That conversation with key local interests will start soon so that community investments can start next year.”

As Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration centre, the ground-breaking 92.4MW, 11-turbine EOWDC will trial next generation technology and contribute significantly to driving down the cost of clean power. Once operational, it will generate the equivalent of 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand and 23% of Aberdeen’s total demand.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said: “The potential benefits of offshore wind energy in Scotland are enormous, and that is why this government is continuing to invest in this area.

“I am keen to see communities across the country share in the benefits from this rich natural resource, so the creation of this community fund will ensure a lasting legacy in the local area, and I look forward to hearing how the money is being used for projects to benefit local people in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area.”

Morag McCorkindale, of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) which is a supportive partner of the project and represents more than 120 organisations involved in renewables across Aberdeen City and Shire, said: “The EOWDC is of great industrial importance to the North-east. It brings value to the supply chain and is contributing considerably to helping the region diversify its economy as well as significant environmental impacts.

“The fact that an EOWDC community fund scheme is being created for the direct benefit of local communities is another long-term investment towards the region’s future prosperity and will support the area’s reputation for a high quality of life.”