PLANS to lease council land for the erection of a wind turbine have been agreed by councillors in a scheme which could generate income for the next 25 years.
Hartlepool Borough Council is to lease land in Brenda Road, Hartlepool, next to TaTa Steel, for a 2.5MW turbine after interest from six renewable energy companies.
The council’s finance and policy committee backed the plans and if planning permission is later granted the scheme will give the local authority an income stream for 25 years, which is expected to start in 2015-16.
Senior officers say the income will help reduce budget pressures facing the council, which needs to save around £16m over the next few years.
A report by Denise Ogden (pictured), the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, outlined the risks but also stressed there is little cost to the local authority.
Mrs Ogden said: “There is a substantial risk involved in the project due to the difficulty of assessing the planning viability at this stage.
“If the proposed turbine is not granted planning permission or does not prove viable for other reasons, clearly no income will be received.
“However, this is inherent in this type of development and all the costs of site investigation, wind monitoring, planning applications, consultation and construction costs will be borne by the developer.”
Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration, said the recommended confidential tender was “significantly better” and the 25-year agreement would result in a “significant sum” for the council.
Independent councillor Paul Thompson said: “Planning is a complex issue but I would like to think it would receive approval. It is in the right area.”
Councillors accepted confidential tender number 6 and for detailed negotiations to be carried out and for the local authority to enter into an exclusivity agreement.
If planning permission is approved a lease will be granted for the construction and operation of a wind turbine at the site. Members were also told the council would benefit from a separate contribution towards a Community Benefit Fund.