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Wind turbine plan for Sandwell Valley revealed  

Credit:  Express & Star, www.expressandstar.com 24 February 2011 ~~

A giant wind turbine could be constructed in the middle of a Black Country beauty spot by a cash-strapped council.

Sandwell Council claims the 200-foot high structure could provide electricity to 20,000 homes in blustery conditions.

The council is considering installing a turbine in Sandwell Valley near Swan Pool. Bosses say it would be screened by dense foliage and high trees, while noise would be drowned out by the nearby M5.

However, it is unclear how much the project would cost the authority to set up.

The Sandwell Valley site is the only site suitable in the borough, which has sufficient wind flow, does not affect flight paths to Birmingham Airport or overhead power lines.

The possibility of erecting a turbine in the borough to reduce carbon emissions and cut energy costs was first mooted in 2007.

Members of the council’s cabinet revealed at a meeting last night they were keen on the scheme when the economic climate improves.

The borough’s finance boss Councillor Steve Eling said: “The turbine would feed into the electricity grid and we could draw on that at no extra cost.

“There would be a cost to put it up, but it would produce a very significant level of saving for us.”

Another site which was considered for a potential turbine was Rowley Hills which offers some of the highest views in the Black Country, but the hills were not deemed suitable.

The scheme is one of a number of “spend to save” initiatives put on hold by the council as it battles to save £75m in the next four years.

The borough already has one publicly-owned turbine – a 33ft Air Dolphin turbine at a location off Taylors Lane, Oldbury, near the civic amenities site in Shidas Lane.

Through monitoring the performance of the turbine it was hoped the council would be able to find out how practical it would be to harness wind power on a large scale in the borough.

However, despite being in use since January 2009, no data is yet available.

Source:  Express & Star, www.expressandstar.com 24 February 2011

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