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Turbines plan set for testing

Wind turbine tests for a green scheme to supply all of Preston Council’s energy will take place later this year.

The council is looking at siting three 3MW turbines on council-owned land at an estimated cost of £13m.

The wind farm would produce around 21,000MW of electricity a year, much more than the 9,000MW the council needs to cover its own annual energy needs.

Any leftover energy would then be sold, generating a source of income for the council, which is predicted to give a return of around 15% after six years.

Council chiefs believe the plan would make them one of the greenest local authorities in the country and help them reach government targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Mick Lovatt, the council’s environment director, said in a new report the project is at an early stage but could bring lots of benefits.

He said: “At this early stage, the council will consult widely in relation to this project to ensure that the people of Preston appreciate that this is a civic scheme being implemented for the public benefit in Preston.

“In this initial phase of the project, temporary planning permission will be sought for the erection of test masts that will deliver wind speed data for two potential development sites.

“Subject to the suitability of this data, a full planning application will be submitted for a preferred site.”

Members of Preston Council’s cabinet will be discuss the initial investigations at their meeting tomorrow evening.

A budget of £300,000 for the preliminary stage of the project has already been approved.

A timetable for the scheme shows testing should begin from September this year, with a full planning application then being submitted around the end of next year if tests are a success.

A council spokesman said the location of the test sites had yet to be confirmed.

The council has previously approved a solar panel scheme at the Town Hall as part of its drive to cut carbon emissions and fuel bills.