Turbine to stand idle for three more weeks

North Road Turbine

North Road Turbine

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Berwick’s new community turbine will stand idle until mid-April because of a delay in getting it connected to the electricity grid.

The 74-metre tall mast at Folly Farm on the northern outskirts of the town was constructed in January and had been expected to start generating power this month.

Julien Lake, chief executive of Berwick Community Trust, said: “Scottish Power are working on the grid connection as we speak, there were a number of delays in getting them to finalise the connection arrangements.

“They have about another two weeks of work or so and will hopefully be finished in mid-April which is when Enercon (the turbine manufacturers) have been booked to return and complete the commissioning process.”

The turbine is expected to generate an income of £2.3 million over its lifetime which will support the long-term work of the trust and generate income for other community energy projects.

Mr Lake admitted: “It is hugely frustrating for us to be having this windy weather and not have the unit operational but we have to remind ourselves that over 25 years a two/three month delay isn’t that significant.

“I think also it isn’t helpful in terms of the public support for turbines when people see units put up and then not operate. There is unfortunately a financial impact for the trust but the unit should be fully operational within about three weeks of now.”

Meanwhile, wind turbine developer Advance Renewables has moved to ease public concerns about its proposals for a pair of 80-metre tall turbines at Marshall Meadows Farm by pledging its commitment to full consultation.

Stuart Mears, director of Advance Renewables said: “The storms battering the UK and extensive flooding recently have been reminders that climate change presents huge challenges for everyone over the coming years.

“Northumberland is blessed with some of the best wind in the country and there could be real benefits to the community from tapping into that resource.

“We are aware of people’s sensitivities around wind turbines and are committed to consulting with a range of stakeholders...to bring forward a scheme that does not harm the area whilst producing the most amount of energy possible to help the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets.

“We were pleased to hear that the Conservation Area Advisory Group, on which town councillors and other groups sit, said that in their view the proposed scheme would have no adverse impact on the Berwick Conservation Area.”

Last week the company submitted plans for a temporary 50-metre high meteorological mast to assess the site’s suitability for turbines.

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