Plans for a giant wind turbine at Carlisle’s Pirelli factory have been dealt a blow as tests found the city is not as windy as first thought.
A test mast was erected at the Dalston Road factory last year to measure wind strength and how often it blows, as a precursor to a planned 120-metre turbine.
But results have not matched the company’s expectations.
Those calculations were based on wind records taken at Carlisle airport over the past ten years.
But Pirelli’s UK boss, Wolfgang Meier, said the project was still very much alive.
“There is no cause for alarm,” he said.
“At this stage we need more windy months to prove our calculations.
“The project is still part of our plans.”
Data from the 45-metre test mast is being analysed by a team specially set up at the Dalston Road factory and by the company that built it ““ London-based Windforce Energy.
It is hoped when built, that the £2m turbine will generate 20 per cent of the tyre plant’s energy and create savings of £700,000 a year.
It would stand a third taller than Dixon’s Chimney in the city and three times the height of the Civic Centre.
Pirelli says it wants to build the turbine because of spiralling energy costs, which have risen from £2.5m a year two years ago to £5m.
Former boss John Nixon said at the time of Pirelli’s planning application for the turbine that it was vital for the future of the Carlisle factory.
Mr Meier said that was not the case.
“It will only provide 20 per cent of our energy ““ it is not essential,” he added.
By Matthew Legg
7 February 2007
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