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Consultants brought in to test viability of Preston council wind farm plan

Posted on - 17th December, 2013 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, News, Preston Council, Riversway
Wind turbines could become a feature of the Docklands landscape

Wind turbines could become a feature of the Docklands landscape

Green energy and design consultations are being brought in to advise councillors on the potential for wind power in Preston.

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Preston City Council have signed a deal with Hyder Consulting UK Limited which could be worth up to £250,000 for the firm.

Town Hall bosses are pursuing a scheme to test whether wind power is viable with the erection of an 80m wind mast test on Preston’s Docklands.

Councillor Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment and sustainability, said there could be £50 million at stake for Preston if a civic wind farm becomes a reality.

He said: “The appointment of Hyder is an important step.

“Hyder will be helping the council to assess whether the scheme is viable. This includes putting up the test mast to measure wind speeds. Work is set to start in January and it will take at least a year before we know whether wind speeds will be enough to generate electricity at sufficient levels to make the scheme viable. Hyder will also be advising on other aspects of the project such as the engineering and environmental challenges.

“Clearly generating income for the city is a major factor given the huge budget cuts being placed on us by Government, but the project is about much more than this. As we have unfortunately seen with recent extreme weather events, climate change is real and its affects are devastating.

“Moving towards green, renewable energy has to be the way forward and we are pleased to be leading the way and exploring renewable energy options for the benefit of Preston and society as a whole.”

The council is currently sitting on planning permission to put up the test wind mast on Wallend Road by the Docks.

Hyer Consulting have worked on design and engineering projects including the Sydney Harbour Brdge and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Simon Randall, Managing Director (Energy & Environment) of Hyder, added: “Hyder is delighted to be working with Preston City Council on this exciting project. As a civic green energy scheme, with all profits going back to the local community, it is an innovative and pioneering endeavour, and one that Hyder is pleased to support.

“While we recognise that there is much to do before the scheme can proceed, as one of the UK’s leading renewable energy engineering consultancies, we are committed to doing what we can to help the council move this project forward.”

If the council were to start generating energy from wind power, they would become the first English could to run a civic power scheme – as Wrexham council run a solar facility.

A council spokesman said payments to Hyder would be staged throughout the project.

A first payment would be made once the test mast is up and running, with the data being monitored and management.

There would be further payments in preparing a planning application for a full wind farm in the city.

However, if the data from the test mast shows wind power is not an option for the city council the total of the payments to Hyder will be less than £250,000.

What do you think? Should the council be spending money on creating green energy? Let us know your views in the comments below

Image credit to marie-II

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