Wind turbine talks for Ipswich

TALKS are under way to construct a wind turbine which could one day soar above the Ipswich skyline, the Evening Star can reveal today.Ipswich Borough Council has confirmed it is in the "early stages" of discussions with renewable energy specialists SLP Energy to construct a turbine on one of three sites in or near to Ipswich.

TALKS are under way to construct a wind turbine which could one day soar above the Ipswich skyline, the Evening Star can reveal today.

Ipswich Borough Council has confirmed it is in the "early stages" of discussions with renewable energy specialists SLP Energy to construct a turbine on one of three sites in or near to Ipswich.

"We have been talking to SLP about possible sitings," a council spokesman revealed.

"The only place in Ipswich we've talked about was Ravenswood. The other two are just outside Ipswich in the Sproughton area and also in Thorrington.

"It's very early days."

The sites in Sproughton and Thorrington are outside Ipswich Borough Council's boundaries but are on land owned by the council.

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SLP Energy is the parent company behind the construction of the Ness Point Wind Turbine in Lowestoft.

At 413ft, that turbine is the tallest in the country. It began providing power to the National Grid last week as part of a commissioning phase and when it is fully operational and running at maximum power it will generate 2750 kilowatts an hour - enough to power 1600 homes.

SLP Energy spokesman Russell Harper confirmed the company was in talks with Ipswich Borough Council.

"Lowestoft-based SLP confirms that, depending on the outcome of those preliminary discussions, they look forward to working with Ipswich Borough Council on their renewable energy initiative," Mr Harper said.

It is understood a presentation on the viability of an Ipswich wind turbine is "imminent".

The UK has 93 wind farms in operation, with 1,100 turbines producing renewable energy.

The government has set a target of 10 per cent of all energy produced to be from renewable sources by 2010.

At present less than four per cent of the UK's electricity supply comes from renewable sources.

The construction of turbines has often proved controversial as debate rages over the environmental and visual impact of structures that often tower over 100 metres.

"I think Ipswich shares, along with many people, a drive to look at all energy alternatives. We are a green council," the council spokesman said.

"It's only right that we look at proposals for environmentally friendly energy."

Discussions between SLP Energy and the council began last year but the council has stressed they remain only in preliminary stages and if any decision was made to go ahead with the scheme, construction would still be at least several years away.

"As part of those preliminary discussions we have talked to various interest groups, including environment groups, about wind energy and various other matters to make us more environmentally friendly," the council spokesman said.

"The first major analysis that would be needed before any agreement is reached would be to check the meteorological conditions are right. That is the key for development on these sites."

A Department of Trade and Industry spokesman said detailed consultation would have to be carried out with residents before any wind turbine scheme was approved.

"First of all the developers have to produce a whole lot of material on what local issues they've identified and how they plan to address them," he said.

"Normally they would consult with the community early in the process."

Weblink: www.dti.gov.uk; www.ipswich.gov.uk

Would you support the construction of a wind turbine in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

EVENING Star weatherman Ken Blowers put a potential wind turbine site at Ravenswood ahead of those at Sproughton and Thorrington because of the area's height above sea level.

"Ravenswood is the ideal spot. Ipswich airport is 128 feet above sea level," Mr Blowers said.

"That will be higher than the other two sites mentioned."

Developers of a wind turbine in Ipswich would be looking for a site of maximum wind throughout the year.

However Mr Blowers stressed Ipswich was not a particularly windy place, with the prevailing south westerly wind only getting up to gale force about four times each year.

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