Lifesaving charities, wildlife groups and community organisations from Skegness have been thanked for their involvement in a newly completed offshore wind farm project.
Centrica Renweable Energy Limited invited representatives from various organisations to Skegness Lifeboat Station on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the Lincs wind farm, five miles off the Lincolnshire coast .
Project director Patrick Harnett, speaking at the event, expressed his gratitude for the support shown by the town’s community since work on the project began in 2010.
“It’s fantastic to celebrate the fact that the Lincs installation has been completed and we are well on our way to having all 75 turbines fully commissioned and generating power by August,” he said.
“And it’s particularly great to be able to celebrate that with our partners in Skegness and the wider area - Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Gibraltar Point, the RNLI, local councils and all of the other stakeholders who have helped us deliver.”
Throughout Centrica’s time working in Skegness it has fostered mutually beneficial relationships with many of the town’s most treasured organisations.
RNLI Coxswain Ray Chapman thanked the energy firm for its ongoing support sponsoring the charity’s annual Lifeboat Ball, following a ‘spur of the moment conversation’ at another event.
“It’s gone from a little acorn into a fantastic big oak tree,” he said.
Centrica has also been a regular contributor to the SO Festival, prompting the celebration to be held in conjunction with the programme of cultural entertainment which got underway last week.
East Lindsey District Council’s leader Coun Doreen Stephenson, who has been heavily involved with the festival throughout, highlighted the range of free events made possible because of the sponsorship.
“Without partnerships such as this many of these kind of events would not be happening,” she said.
“The SO Festival is aimed at devising a way to encourage people to visit and drive forward the economy not just for Skegness and the east coast but for the whole district.”
Coun Stephenson also felt Centrica’s contrinution to the small projects it had been invovled with was equally important and praised the firm for ‘actually taking the time to meet with so many people in the community’.
Head of public affairs at Centrica, Neville Barltrop, has been working in Skegness over the past nine years, before the Lincs project began, explaining the company’s projects to the community while seeking worthwhile causes to support within it.
“When you’re involved with a big project like this it’s very important to get to know what makes that community tick,” he said.
Throughout his time in the town, Mr Barltrop has helped direct funding towards projects at St Mary’s Church, Gibraltar Point and the Skegness Standard’s Champions Awards, held last night.
Just recently, Mr Barltrop also pledged money to the charities supported by the Mayor of Skegness Coun Jim Carpenter.
“It’s not just about giving money it’s about identifying things that can make a real difference,” he added.
The Lincs project, which has been produced in collaboration with Siemens and Dong Energy, is expected to meet the electricity requirements of around 200,000 homes, when fully commissioned later this year.
Mr Harnett explained that the weather, particularly last winter, had been a ‘major challenge’ during construction.
“When you are building a wind farm you choose site because it is windy, but when you are constructing it using equipment and turbines designed to catch the wind, you don’t want that wind,” he said
“So , as you can imagine, we’ve become fascinated about your weather here.”