Wirral Could Cash In £250K Yearly from Wind Farm Expansion
Proposed expansion of a Liverpool Bay offshore wind farm could trigger the setting up of an annual £250,000 community fund as well as investment and new jobs in Wirral's energy sector.
Dong Energy, one of Europe's leading energy groups, has submitted proposals to expand its existing Burbo Bank wind farm.
If the proposal is approved by government, Dong says it will establish a Community Benefit Fund and invite local organisations and groups to bid for funds to support local schemes.
As well as support for grassroots activity, the multi-million pound expansion of the wind farm could secure investment across Wirral's existing offshore energy supply chain.
Local firms, led by Cammell Laird, already play a major role in supplying and supporting Irish Sea energy installations.
If Dong's plan goes ahead, the expanded Burbo Bank wind farm could supply energy for the equivalent of 170,000 homes.
It is anticipated that the planning permission decision for the scheme will be decided by the Secretary of State in September.
Before then, Wirral residents have an opportunity to suggest how the proposed Community Fund - which would operate for the duration of the Burbo Bank scheme - could be allocated. Local people have until the end of September to complete an online survey. Findings will help Dong assess how the fund might be used.
Wirral Council Leader Cllr Phil Davies said:
"The expertise of Wirral firms and the skills of their employees, have helped to establish a major offshore energy supply chain hub here. The prospect of them attracting further investment and being able to create more jobs, as well as the creation of an annual Community Benefit Fund worth £250,000, is welcome."
Project Development Manager at Dong Energy Ferdinando Giammichele said:
"Dong Energy recognises the strength in supporting local communities. For this project we have looked into various options and considered that setting up a Community Benefit Fund would be the right way to supportively engage with the local community. We have therefore established a consultation to encourage members of the public and stakeholders to take part and help us define how this fund should be developed."
Details of the proposed Community Benefit Fund were presented to Wirral guests from the offshore energy sector attending the Open Championship.
Wirral guests at the Open span a range of national and international companies and organisations with a focus on the offshore energy and automotive supply chain sectors.
Businesses represented include Dong Energy Group, Osiris Projects, Solar Consulting Australia, Bentley Motors, McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover, General Motors and Toyota.