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Council spent £100,000 on turbines that don’t work because of too little wind

A council that spent £100,000 installing two wind turbines on a civic building six years ago have admitted they didn’t work because the site was not windy enough.

Kirklees Council placed the turbines on the roof of the Civic Centre in Huddersfield, West Yorks., in July 2006 to generate energy and to raise awareness of renewable energy among the thousands of motorists who drive past them every day.

But the six-kilowatt turbines proved to be a costly advertisement and at one point in 2008 were generating a mere £2,078 a year despite the council forking out £6,431 to maintain and repair them over the same period.

An official Kirklees statement has now admitted for the first time that the council had got it wrong.

The turbines had been “inappropriately sited, leading to poor performance,” according to the council who invested £70,000 in the initial £101,000 project with a Government grant paying for the rest.

The statement added: “The turbines were part of a European demonstration project testing how different types of renewable energy would work together to meet a portion of the building’s energy demand and raise awareness of renewable energy.”

The admission came as Kingspan Wind pledged to help the council with two new turbines at a windier location.

Kirkless leader, Coun Mehboob Khan, said: “We are pleased to accept the advice and support from Kingspan Wind and look forward to working with them in finding a new home for the wind turbines.

“The wind turbines have served their useful purpose as they were erected in a central location to raise awareness of renewable energy in the district.

“We remain committed to cutting carbon and energy costs and will continue to invest in saving energy.”

Kingspan sales director Tony Staniforth said: “The siting of wind turbines is of paramount importance, and we at Kingspan are confident that by supporting Kirklees Council on this project and helping choose the the correct site, it will demonstrate the true capabilities of our world-leading, robust small scale wind turbine technology.”