Renewable energy initiatives in North Norfolk feature strongly in the latest grants awarded by the Sheringham Shoal Community Fund, with four organisations receiving support for their projects.
A new build village hall in Wighton, known as the Wighton Recreation Hut, and the Sailing Club in Wells-next-the-Sea each received a grant to install solar PV panels and an accompanying battery storage system
Mundesley Junior and Infant Schools, operated by The Coastal Together Federation, will use their grant to help fund the cost of an energy audit of the two schools. The findings of the audit will help the schools with forward planning, whilst aiding understanding of the measures which can be put in place to help save on operating costs and reduce carbon footprint.
A grant to Cromer Tennis Club will enable it to replace 16 floodlights, covering four courts, with LED lights. The installation of these lights, which is part of the Club’s sustainability plan, will improve the quality of the lighting and significantly reduce electricity usage and hence carbon emissions.
Wells Sailing Club, which promotes sailing and ‘on the water’ pursuits, has around 300 members, and a lively social calendar means the club house is in use throughout the year.
Nigel Ely is the committee member who is managing a programme of club house upgrades, of which the solar PV system is an integral element. He said:
“Since being awarded the grant in May this year, the solar PV panels and battery storage system have been installed. It is expected that this upgrade will enable the club to be self-sufficient during the summer months, producing the electricity to run the club’s bar and kitchen equipment and, with the installation of a power diverter, supplying sufficient hot water for showers and washing. This should result in around a 66% reduction in the club&rss annual electricity bills.”
Since the Sheringham Shoal Community Fund was established in 2010, it has awarded grants of over £1.15m to community projects across North Norfolk. It receives a donation of £100,000 per annum from the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, which is operated by Equinor.
The Sheringham Shoal Community Fund is administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation (www.norfolkfoundation.com)
About Equinor in Norfolk
Equinor is a long-term partner for Norfolk and has been an active member of the community for over a decade through the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon wind farms it operates off the Norfolk coast.
The Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm is owned by Equinor, Masdar and China Resources, whilst Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm is owned by Equinor, Equitix Offshore 5 (co-owned by Equitix and the Renewable Investment Group TRIG) and a fund managed by Macquarie Asset Management).
On behalf of its partners, Equinor is also maturing the proposed Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon extension projects (SEP and DEP). SEP and DEP will double the capacity of the existing Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon wind farms, providing renewable energy to power an additional 785,000 UK homes and making an important contribution to the UK’s decarbonisation goals.
Currently, the combined output of Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon wind farms is sufficient to power around 710,000 UK homes, and the proposed extensions will increase that to nearly 1.5 million UK households.
Both wind farms have established community funds which in total have awarded over £1.4 million to projects in Norfolk. The funds were set up to provide grants to Norfolk community groups, including schools and charities, seeking financial assistance for projects or initiatives that meet key criteria and focus on renewable energy, marine environment and safety, sustainability, or education in these areas. During 2020, the funds provided grant funding to the Norfolk Community Foundation’s COVID-19 funding initiatives, and during 2021 grant funding has been made available to support Norfolk’s ‘every child on-line’ initiative.