A Norfolk hospital is set to become one of the first public sector organisations in the country to be powered by “green” energy from its own large-scale wind turbine.
Health chiefs at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, are currently working with Ecotricity, the renewable energy company, to finalise plans to install the turbine which could stand up to 100 metres tall and cost about £1m.
They hope to submit a planning application to West Norfolk Council before the end of the year for the turbine to be built on a site adjacent to the hospital.
Dale Vince, managing director of Ecotricity which was behind Swaffham’s two turbines next to the A47, said: “Household names such as Ford, the Pru, Co-op bank, Michelin and B&Q are all benefiting from their own sources of green generation, real carbon savings and lower electricity bills.
“We are delighted to announce this very first initiative with the public sector.
“The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is blazing a trail which we believe will very soon become a well trodden path. The public sector should be leading the way in the fight against climate change and the biggest step that actually can be taken in that regard is to change where electricity comes from.”
They hope that if the turbine is granted planning permission it will be up and running by the end of next year. Ecotricity will plan, finance and build it on the hospital grounds and the electricity will be fed directly to the hospital reducing its import of conventional electricity, under its Merchant Windpower scheme.
Rowena Barnes, interim chief executive at the hospital, said: “We are fully committed to finding ways of reducing our overheads and limiting our impact on the environment. Every pound we can save on electricity costs is, potentially another pound we can spend on the care of our patients.
“The benefit of the Merchant Windpower scheme is that there is no capital outlay for the hospital trust and yet we stand to make considerable savings on our annual fuel bill. The added bonus is knowing that we will be producing our own green energy, which has to be to everyone’s advantage.”
James Beal, managing director at Renewables East which is charged with meeting the eastern region’s “green” energy targets, said: “It is great news that a public institution like the NHS is prepared to such take a visionary step towards making its contribution to tackling climate change and reducing the cost of electricity to the hospital.
“It is an inspiration to all of us.”
Earlier this week Gordon Brown pledged to make Britain a world leader in the battle against global warming with a green “technological” revolution.
In his first major speech on the environment he hinted strongly that he is ready to extend the government’s target of a 60pc cut in Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and said he had asked experts to look at an 80pc goal instead.
He also plans to launch green websites and hotlines to advice householders on how they can reduce the carbon footprint of their property.
By Nicki Walker
24 November 2007
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