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Council presses ahead with wind power plan

Pioneering plans to harness wind power in Gloucester are still on the cards, despite changes to energy subsidies.

Gloucester City Council’s cabinet confirmed the authority remains optimistic about plans for a £900,000 wind turbine at Alney Island.

Organisations, including councils, that produce electricity through wind power can currently earn 20.7p per kilowatt hour through the government’s “feed-in tariff” scheme.

But proposals from Whitehall, currently under consultation, could see this figure fall to 17.5p for projects started after October and further from April 2014.

However, at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, leading councillors from the Tory administration agreed the project, which they said would cover its own costs within eight years.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, councillor Steve Morgan (Con, Grange), said: “We’re being sensibly cautious in proceeding with this.

“The business case, whatever tariff we get, is still good. We need to take a little bit of time and a little bit of opportunity to add our voice to the consultation about the tariffs.”

It is believed the council will write to the government to ask for an extension to the tariff.

Councillor Deb Llewellyn (Con, Quedgeley Fieldcourt) said: “We’ve done so much work and it is ground-breaking and an innovation, but it’s important we have all the information in order to make the right decision.”

Councillor Colin Organ (Con, Tuffley) added: “Technology is moving on very, very fast and we must be aware of that. We were right not to jump in too quick, too soon.”

The turbine is expected to generate 5,542,193 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which at the current rate would earn the council £131,343 per year, compared to £113,609 at the new rate.

At the lower rate, the council would have to wait 7.9 years to cover costs, instead of 6.8 years.