Turbines plans for council-land

KEEN FOR EFFICIENCY: Stuart Drummond
KEEN FOR EFFICIENCY: Stuart Drummond

PLANS to install wind turbines on council-owned land have moved a step closer after councillors gave officers their backing to go out to tender.

Hartlepool Borough Council is planning on installing two turbines on land in Brenda Road in a move which would generate income for the local authority.

Officers, who were given approval to go out to tender by the cabinet committee, say it could also create an annual “community benefit” fund which could even help reduce energy bills.

Councillors have called for the benefits to be highlighted at an early stage.

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The proposed site, near the railway line, is mainly a level grassed area partly let for grazing and is near to the Tata site.

The council was first approached back in 2009 by Partnerships for Renewables (PfR) who proposed to lease land from the council and erect wind turbines on the land.

The council would benefit from an income from the lease of the land and also from a share of the income from electricity generated.

The scheme was put on hold but officials have recently revisited it and the site has been highlighted as the most appropriate as it is an industrial part of town away from people’s homes.

A report said: “A competitive exercise is required to tease out firm proposals and assess the best solution for Hartlepool.”

Ahead of the meeting the council had received initial proposals from PfR, Wind Direct, Aeolus and Enertrag.

Officers have stressed that none of the confidential proposals are firm offers, but show an indication of the likely income that could be generated which would be based on energy generation determined by wind speed, wind direction and efficiency and reliability of equipment.

Independent councillor Paul Thompson said: “If we are going to go down this route then we should publish the potential benefits at an early stage.

“There will be people that don’t want the turbines popping up.

“But in my opinion if we have a bit of land we should be looking at putting turbines on them to make some money, within reason of course.”

Mayor Stuart Drummond said he was keen for the turbines to be as efficient as possible and he was reassured by Dave Stubbs, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, that turbines are becoming far more efficient.

Mayor Drummond said: “A community benefit for most people would be something that would reduce energy bills.

“If we can set up something that helps reduce bills then that is something we should be aiming for.

“We need to think a bit more long-term and strategically.”

Once officers have gone out to tender, a report will be brought back to cabinet and members asked to enter into an exclusivity agreement with the preferred developer.

A period of consultation would then take place and the plans would be subject to planning permission being approved.