Community event on Balmedie Beach

North-east offshore wind community benefit scheme gears up for autumn launch

Blackdog to see annual funding allocation

Local champions in the North-east are being given the chance to get involved with the next stage of the offshore wind community benefit scheme for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

The scheme will support community empowerment and enhanced quality of life in the North-east of Scotland after local feedback from people across Aberdeen City and Shire was analysed by Dr Claire Haggett, one of Scotland’s leading wind farm fund experts.

The University of Edinburgh academic’s independent analysis told Vattenfall what the region’s communities want from the 20-year, £3mn, Unlock our Future fund. These include preparing communities for the future, capacity building and investment in community spaces and transport. 

Following the consultation, work is now underway to set up the £150,000-a-year scheme, expected to run for 20-years. This includes a search for local champions to help get the scheme up and running with the first call for community funding proposals is expected to follow in the autumn 2018.

And thanks to the community feedback, Vattenfall has agreed that £15,000 a year – 10% of the annual total – will be dedicated to the people of Blackdog, where the substation for the EOWDC is located.

Adam Ezzamel, Vattenfall’s project director for the EOWDC, off Aberdeen Bay, said: “Vattenfall’s £3mn Unlock our Future fund is one of the ways that people in North-east Scotland will benefit from the EOWDC. Vattenfall has a great record in delivering community benefit programmes and this is our first scheme of this nature for an offshore wind farm. We have been working closely with stakeholders across the region to incorporate their thoughts and feedback into the scheme, making it the best it can be. Moving on to the next phase of development of the fund I call on community champions in the region to get involved and help us make the best of this valuable opportunity.”

Adam added: “We are also pleased that the people of Blackdog are to benefit directly from the scheme. Vattenfall is committed to being a good neighbour and we are grateful for the community’s overall support of our development.” 

Jean Morrison, chair of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), which is a supportive partner of the project, said: “As a flagship project for Aberdeen City and Shire, the EOWDC underpins AREG’s vision to develop a sustainable, renewable energy sector and help position the region at the forefront of the energy transition. 

“The community benefit scheme represents another long-term investment for the project and we would encourage local people to get involved because it will directly benefit local communities. We also hope that, like the EOWDC and the North-east’s entrepreneurial spirit, it will attract innovative projects and ones that leave a lasting legacy.”

As part of the Unlock Our Future scheme, a community development officer will be appointed to offer support to local people and groups to help develop ideas and approaches to make the most of the community funding.

The 93.2MW, 11-turbine EOWDC is Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration site. Last week, the final turbine for the cutting-edge scheme was successfully installed along with the inter-array cables. Work is now underway to commission the facility with first power expected to be generated in the summer.

More information about the community benefit scheme and how people can get involved is available here.

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