Rochdale Council is planning on extending its wind energy programme following a pilot scheme that has seen a wind turbine erected at the site of the former Hill Top School in Kirkholt earlier this year.
Two further sites, said to be suitable for wind energy development, both in the Hopwood Hall area, are now planned. Each project consists of a 500kW wind turbine up to 77 metre in height.
The council is at the beginning of the planning process and will be inviting the local community to attend a public consultation event in September.
Wind turbines are notoriously controversial, polarising opinion, and hence the council is seeking to ‘sell’ the 77 metre high turbines to residents on the basis that they could deliver up to £400,000 of income each year to help protect front line services.
Councillor Cecile Biant, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Regulation of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “These wind turbines represent a fantastic opportunity to use the area’s natural resources to generate an income for the council to help deliver essential front line services at a time of financial challenge.”
The council says that harnessing the area’s natural resources could generate new multi-million-pound revenue streams, fund municipal services, put land assets to work, underwrite energy security and offset soaring energy prices, as well as fulfil its renewable power and carbon reduction obligations.
Each year the council uses 27.5GWh of electricity to power buildings and offices. The 2012-2013 cost was £2.8m, excluding street lighting and leisure sites. Its annual Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) tax bill in 2013/14 was £272,000. As part of the Greater Manchester Climate Change Strategy, the council has agreed to a 48 per cent CO2 emission cut by 2020.
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