SSE, the developer of Keadby wind farm in North Lincolnshire, has more than tripled the funds available for community projects in the local area, including creating a new fund to support strategic projects across the region.
The overall fund will now be worth £8.6 million to local communities over the next 25 years, rising from £2.5 million, and now represents the largest community benefit fund of any wind farm development in England.
Today’s decision follows a change to SSE’s Community Investment policy last year where it improved the scale of community benefit for new onshore wind projects to £5000 per Megawatt (MW) per annum, split between a ‘local’ and ‘regional’ fund.
Since the introduction of this policy, £5,000 per MW has now become the best practice benchmark for community investment and in June, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) called on all developers to move to this level.
Although Keadby wind farm was consented in 2008, and acquired by SSE in 2011, SSE has now reviewed the existing agreement - £100,000 per annum for 25 years - and decided to extend its improved policy to the Keadby project.
Under the new agreement, half the funds, representing £170,000 per annum, will be allocated to the SSE Keadby Wind Farm Community Fund, and made available to community projects within the North Axholme Ward area. A further £170,000 per annum will be open to communities within the North Lincolnshire council area via a new ’regional’ fund – the SSE Sustainable Development Fund (North Lincolnshire).
The ‘local’ fund will be administered in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council and will open for applications next month. The Sustainable Development fund will launch in the first half of 2014 and will support applications for large – potentially transformational – projects that supporting skills development, job creation, community energy and the natural and built environment.
The 34-turbine wind farm, situated adjacent to SSE’s Keadby Power Station, is now under construction and due for completion in the first half of next year. Once fully commissioned, the 68MW development will be the largest onshore wind farm in England.
Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, said: “In June, we announced a package of measures to ensure communities have a greater say and increased benefit from hosting onshore wind. This included a five-fold increase in benefits paid by developers to local people. This increase will come into force towards the end of the year. I’m delighted that SSE has decided to introduce this for the largest onshore wind farm in England, even before the new agreement is officially put in place. Onshore wind will be a key part of our low-carbon energy mix – and this is a really important step in making sure that local communities will actually see and feel the benefits.”
“Adding the regional fund means that strong community projects from across the North Lincolnshire area can now also benefit from funding, and we are looking forward to receiving applications that will make a real difference to communities and deliver the triple bottom line of social, economic and environmental benefit to the region.”
SSE, in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council, is planning to hold a launch event for the local fund in the coming months. Further information will be available on the company’s website at www.sse.com/keadby or by calling the project Community Liaison Officer, Jade Fearon on 01724 788236 / 07584313526.
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