A council scheme to potentially make millions out of wind energy got off the ground late last week.Advertisement
Preston City Council’s civic energy scheme has put up a test mast near the Docks to test whether the city has enough wind power.
Engineers had previously abandoned an attempt to put up the mast near Wallend Road, Riversway, due to high winds on Wednesday which lashed the city and surrounding area.
The test mast will stand for at least 12 months to monitor wind speeds.
If successful, the council could apply to build a wind farm which it says would generate up to £50 million over 25 years.
Councillor Robert Boswell, cabinet member for community and environment, said: “The test mast is an important step forward and a key milestone for the Powering Preston project.
“During the next twelve months the test mast will measure wind speeds, the data from which will tell us whether there is enough wind to generate electricity at the site to make the scheme viable.
“Whilst the test mast is measuring wind speeds, we will also be carrying out investigations to see whether wind turbines at this site would interfere with radar and if so what the solution would be. In addition, we will complete our ecology and bird studies to make sure that we can minimise any impact on wildlife from possible wind turbines on the site.
“We are investing up to £250,000 in this project. It’s a big commitment but we have to think long term. Public funding is being cut back and as a Council we have to look at all ways of raising money and limiting the financial burden on taxpayers.
“Renewable energy would also help to reduce Preston’s overall carbon emissions, so the potential benefits from the scheme are clear.
“However, first and foremost there has to be enough wind to generate electricity in sufficient quantities, so that’s why we’re measuring the wind speeds. It will take about a year to get enough data about average wind speeds. It is then and only then, that will we be able to decide whether or not to move ahead with the scheme.”
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