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Kirklees Council finally admits that Civic Centre turbines were in the wrong location

After six years, Kirklees Council has finally admitted: “We got it wrong with the Civic Centre turbines.”

The two windmills were installed in July 2006 to raise awareness of renewable energy among the thousands of motorists who drive along the ring road every day.

The six-kilowatt turbines cost £101,000 to buy and install, with Kirklees providing £70,000 and a Government grant covering the rest.

But in 2008 the turbines cost £6,431 to maintain and repair while bringing in just £2,078 to council coffers.

The following year one of the windmills broke down and was left lying on its side on the top of the Civic Centre.

And yesterday, an official Kirklees statement 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.

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 yesterday pledged to pay for two new turbines for the council – at a windier location.

Kirklees leader Clr 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 through measures such as upgrading streetlights, making buildings more energy efficient by using double glazing, insulation and heating controls.”

Kingspan sales director Tony Staniforth added: “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 correct site, it will demonstrate the true capabilities of our world-leading, robust small scale wind turbine technology.”