A COMMUNITY fund scheme aimed at generating lasting legacies for north-east communities is being created by the developer behind the region’s pioneering European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

Swedish energy group Vattenfall is to establish a community investment scheme by investing £150,000 every year for the operational life of the more than £300 million offshore wind test and demonstration centre.

The EOWDC is expected to operate for 20 years which means the fund could be worth as much as £3m over the lifetime of the project.

Vattenfall’s EOWDC project director Adam Ezzamel said: “Vattenfall wants the EOWDC fund to support communities in Aberdeen and the Shire for the lifetime of the wind farm which is expected to be around 20 years.

“How a lasting legacy will secure best outcomes from the EOWDC fund will in large part be determined by those who are to benefit. That conversation with key local interests will start soon so that community investments can start next year.”

Once operational, the EOWDC will generate the equivalent of 70 per cent of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand and 23 per cent of Aberdeen’s total demand.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said: “The potential benefits of offshore wind energy in Scotland are enormous, and that is why this government is continuing to invest in this area.

“I am keen to see communities across the country share in the benefits from this rich natural resource, so the creation of this community fund will ensure a lasting legacy in the local area, and I look forward to hearing how the money is being used for projects to benefit local people in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area.”