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Radio waves problem forces council to rethink turbines  

Plans for wind turbines in Pride Park are to be downgraded because the electricity generators would interfere with phone and radio communication.

A year ago, Derby City Council announced a proposal to install up to 10 of the turbines at the business park.

The council had planned to offer the power as a green alternative to the various businesses on Pride Park.

But now it says this will not currently be possible because the blades of the 400ft-high wind turbines would disrupt Pride Park’s telecommunication network by interfering with the transmission of radio and microwaves.

Although turbine blades are not of metallic construction, they can reflect and diffract radio waves. Lightning protection built into turbine blades can also reflect radio signals.

Council leader Chris Williamson, however, said the discovery would not totally scupper the plans.

He said that the council still hoped to install one or two of the turbines at the site, with perhaps more in the future.

Mr Williamson said: “The scale we had planned is not possible at the moment because of the spider web of communication channels at Pride Park. It makes it problematic to be able to find a space to erect the turbines.

“But we still want to install one or two as a pilot. A couple could serve a large part of the businesses in Pride Park.”

He said if this proved to deliver low-cost energy to the businesses then it might be possible to redirect radio and television signals but he did not know how much that would cost.

The turbines which will be erected could cost the council as much as £1.7m and would have the potential to generate enough electricity to power 1,300 homes for a whole year.

As reported last March, the council also has plans to install wind turbines in two of Derby’s parks – Markeaton Park and Allestree Park – which it is still pressing ahead with.

Both sites would have one wind turbine, but the one on Markeaton Park would have a visitor centre revealing how it worked and showcasing ways of generating green energy.

Unlike the proposed turbines for Pride Park, virtually all of the power generated by those at Markeaton and Allestree parks would be fed into the National Grid.

Turbines work by the wind turning propellers about 10 to 15 times per minute. That rotates a spinning dynamo, which produces the power.

Peter Robinson, chairman of Derby Campaign Against Climate Change, said the downgrading of the Pride Park plans were for a “fair enough reason”.

Mr Robinson said: “It’s common sense – you have to take advice. But this is a very welcome initiative as this country lags behind other European countries in terms of investment in renewable energy.

“I also hope they go ahead with the idea of putting a wind turbine in Markeaton Park and combining it with an educational centre.”

By Aly Walsh

Evening Telegraph

1 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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