BT Is planning to build a series of wind farms – including sites in Orkney and Shetland – that will meet 25% of its UK electricity needs by 2016, the telecoms company announced yesterday.
The £250million project will see turbines installed on or adjacent to BT-owned parcels of land across the country, for example radio mast sites, that could generate 250MW of electricity a year.
The renewable energy produced – equivalent to the power needs of 122,000 homes or a city the size of Coventry – would cut BT’s emissions by 500,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, it estimates.
BT has applied for planning permission for test masts at its sites at Wideford Hill radio station in Orkney and Scousburgh radio station in Shetland.
One of Britain’s biggest consumers of electricity, it said the scheme was the biggest corporate wind power venture outside the energy sector.
The project will secure funding from a third party, possibly an energy company, to develop future supplies of green energy for BT. It would commit to buying all the electricity from the farms.
But Orkney objectors said yesterday there should be a moratorium on all new developments of this kind until the islands council has in place comprehensive planning policies for onshore wind projects.
Judith Glue, from newly-formed Orkney Skyline Concern, said the group supported the idea of community-owned wind projects, but was worried about schemes involving companies based outside the islands.
“The council don’t have a cohesive planning policy in place for onshore wind projects and, until they do, we feel there should be a moratorium,” she said. “We’re worried about the impact on tourism, and that’s something that should be of great concern to the council.”
Within the next month, the local authority is aiming to publish a draft sustainable energy strategy for Orkney and the latest version of a planning framework for onshore wind projects.
The company’s finance director, Hanif Lalani, said there was a “pressing need” for industry to cut its carbon in ways that made sense financially.
“BT has already achieved a 60% reduction in its carbon emissions and is committed to reducing them further to 80% by 2016.
“Our wind-energy plans play an important part in reaching that target.”
19 October 2007
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