UK gas and electricity supplier DONG Energy has launched its East Coast Community Fund, a sum of money worth approximately £465,000 each year for a 20 year period.

The Fund is intended support coastal communities within the vicinity of the Race Bank and Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm developments off the Norfolk and Lincolnshire Coasts.

Local consultation

The supplier has appointed the third party GrantScape to carry out a local consultation to the seek views from all stakeholders on how the Fund should be set up.

The purpose of the consultation is to:

  • Ensure local people and local groups have the opportunity to participate in how the Fund should be established
  • Clarify the areas or ‘funding zones’ where the Fund should be spent
  • Identify the types of projects the Fund should support
  • Identify the size of grants the Fund should support

The first step in the consultation process is to capture background information through an online public survey. The questionnaire consists of 15 questions and will take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

The survey is open to anyone that wants to have a say and help influence how the Fund is set up. The survey will be open until Wednesday 14 September. Please follow this link to access the online survey: http://www.grantscape.org.uk/fund/eastcoastcommunityfund/  

Local benefits

Brent Cheshire, UK Country Chairman of DONG Energy today said: “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.

“We have already set up a community benefit fund for our Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm and a similar fund is being established for the Walney Extension offshore windfarm project. However this is the first time we have launched a combined fund for projects on a particular coast.”

The 580-megawatt Race Bank array being built off the North Norfolk coast will be capable of meeting the electricity needs of over half a million UK homes when it becomes operational.

Hornsea Project One is the second project which is a 1.2 gigawatt offshore windfarm to be built near the Yorkshire coast. It will generate enough electricity to supply over one million UK homes and should be fully operational by 2020.

RYA position

Over the past twelve years the RYA has worked with the maritime community, notably the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the General Lighthouse Authorities, the Chamber of Shipping, and the UK Major Ports Group in an effort to limit the impact of offshore renewable developments on the navigational rights and safety of recreational boating.    

The result has been the widespread acknowledgement of the importance of navigational safety and regular engagement in the consultation process at a strategic level and on a site by site basis.  

Next steps

Race Bank is under construction and due to be operational in 2018. Hornsea Project One is also in its construction phase and is due to be fully commissioned by 2020.

Anyone with specific questions about the survey or Fund should call GrantScape directly on 01908 247634 or email them at eccf@grantscape.org.uk.