Windfarm developer Dong Energy has started the latest phase of work on its Burbo Bank extension project, triggering a community fund that will offer £225,000 each year for 25 years.
The initiative is linked to the latest stage of the scheme which will see an extra 32 turbines added to the 25 existing units off Burbo Bank, in Liverpool Bay.
Danish firm Dong will provide £225,000 annually for voluntary groups and organisations near the coast of the Wirral, Sefton, Flintshire and Denbighshire.
Funds will be administered by national grant-making charity GrantScape, which will consider applications for grants of between £500 and £25,000. There will be two applications rounds each year.
Klaus Skoust Møller, senior programme director of the Burbo Bank Extension at Dong Energy, said: “After years of planning and development it’s great to see the project start and our long-term commitment to the Community Fund begin.
“We are looking forward to seeing the fantastic projects the fund will support and the benefits these will bring to the local community and environment.”
He added: “Besides the good work around the fund, Dong Energy is also working with a number of local suppliers for them to benefit from the business that a big project like Burbo Bank Extension brings to the area.”
The project is expected to start producing energy in 2017 and it is estimated that 135 full time jobs and 55 part time offshore jobs could be created in the local supply chain during the construction period, while a potential 75 full time wind energy jobs could be generated for the 25-year life time of the scheme.
In March this year Dong awarded Balfour Beatty a £12m contract to develop an onshore substation to handle the transfer of electricity from the windfarm to the National Grid.
Work started immediately at the site in Bodelwyddan, south of the St Asaph Business Park in Denbighshire, and is expected to last until summer next year.
Offshore works should start in 2016 and proceed until early 2017.