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A giant wind turbine – almost double the size of Southampton Civic Centre clock tower – could be built in a mystery location in the city.
The enormous turbine – one of the biggest in the country – could soar a staggering 85m (279ft) into the sky, with rotating blades stretching 33m (108ft).
It’s not the only turbine being considered for the city with plans to install one at every school.
Its location is being kept secret for commercial reasons. However the Daily Echo can reveal a windy, spacious site on the northern edge of the city has already been identified.
The single two megawatt turbine – potentially an iconic landmark in the south – would power up to 1,500 Southampton homes and mean cheaper power bills.
With a full public consultation to be launched in six months, the giant turbine – half the height of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower – could be spinning as early as 2009.
After conducting a survey of Southampton, the Energy Saving Trust yesterday singled out the secret site where it wants to build the giant turbine.
The tower would be installed at no cost to taxpayers and the energy consumption would be split between the city and the not for profit organisation.
The council would then be able to sell its 50 per cent share of power to either homes or small businesses.
The exact size will depend on wind speeds and wind generation in the area, but the council wants to build as big as possible and is looking to replicate the success of the 85m turbine on the M4 at Reading.
Councillor Gavin Dick, Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, pictured below, said: “This survey will determine the site of the turbine, but obviously we are looking to get the maximum energy consumption out of any turbine that is installed in the city.
“We will take into consideration the surrounding area, the views of residents and obviously there will be consultation with the city.
“It would be a landmark and some people would love it and some people would hate it, but the real benefit would be the 1,500 residents who’d get reduced energy bills.”
In an effort to make Southampton the greenest city in the country, the council also wants 35 schools in the city to install their wind turbines to supply their own energy.
Cllr Dick added: “All the money that will be saved will be then be put back into education and they can spend more money on teaching the children.”
To boost the number of residential wind turbines on roofs of city homes, the council will also scrap the £265 planning application fee.
The announcement comes days after the government revealed plans for every home in the UK to be powered by 7,000 offshore turbines by 2020.
Cllr Dick said the council was not looking at offshore wind farms because of the disruption it would cause to busy shipping lanes leading into the port.
12 December 2007
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