Pride Park could soon play host to a string of 400ft-high wind turbines.
Derby City Council has opened talks with Lancashire firm Wind Direct over proposals to install up to 10 of the electricity generators on the business park.
The company said the authority was the first in the country to consider installing turbines on that scale.
They would cost the council as much as £1.7m each.
Turbines of this size would have the potential to generate enough electricity to power 1,300 homes.
But the council is more likely to offer the power to businesses at Pride Park as a green alternative.
Another option would be to power the council’s own buildings. Wind Direct has already been asked by Councillor Phil Ingall, who proposed the idea, to analyse the requirements and the site before coming up with numbers as to how many wind turbines could be installed.
A report is expected to be completed in time for the council’s cabinet to consider the concept in either March or April.
No specific locations have been identified yet, but a list of suggestions are expected to feature in the report.
Council leader Chris Williamson said up to 10 turbines could feasibly be installed.
He said: “It’s the very early stages, so clearly we’re not sure what we’re looking at but we’re very seriously considering this as a terrific way to create energy and show that we’re serious about green issues.
“There’s no doubt that you’d be able to see these things from a long way away. They could be an iconic symbol of how Derby is a forward-thinking city.
“We’re dedicated to reducing carbon emissions in Derby and this would be an excellent way of achieving that aim.”
No funding arrangements have been drawn up. Such a scheme is not accounted for in the council’s proposed budget for 2007-8, which is due to be confirmed on March 1.
If a deal was agreed, the council would be able to raise cash from selling the power to Pride Park businesses, but Wind Direct would be entitled to receive profits from selling any surplus energy back to the National Grid.
If the council wholly funded the scheme, it would need to borrow the cash. It would pay it back over many years, but Mr Williamson said this would eventually be a cost-neutral exercise with likely savings of about £150,000 per year per turbine.
It would take less than 12 years for the savings to exceed the cost.
An alternative funding arrangement would see Wind Direct cover the cost of the turbines in return for an agreement with the council to buy the generated energy back over many years.
At the end of such a contract, the council would take ownership of the turbines.
Adrian Maddocks, Wind Direct’s development director, said: “It’s fair to say this is at an embryonic stage, but we’ve held talks with Derby City Council and they’re very keen. I’m not aware of any other authority that has installed turbines of this size.
“There’s a lead time of about nine to 12 months on the turbines, so once planning permission was granted you would probably be talking about the best part of two years before you actually saw them in Derby.”
Sandra Heard, a Greenpeace campaigner from Fairway Crescent, Allestree, said: “I think it sounds like an absolutely fantastic idea.
“Nobody can claim that Pride Park is beautiful and I’m very much in support of well-sited wind turbines.”
But Andrew Vipond, 27, of Burton Road, Derby, said: “I know Pride Park’s not exactly an area of architectural or historical significance, but that’s no reason to put wind turbines all over it.”
By David Walsh
5 February 2007
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