County council owned energy firm completes first installation
17:43 17 December 2012
An energy firm set up to support Nofolk’s low carbon economy has completed its first renewable energy schemes.
Norfolk Energy Futures (NEF), a subsidiary company set up by Norfolk County Council in 2011 has installed 19 small-scale wind turbines on 11 county farm sites.
The turbines will generate free electricity for the tenants and also supply electricity to the national grid.
In return, they have attracted green energy grants which will be paid to NEF over the lifetime of the equipment, delivering an 11pc return on the company’s investment and a secure long term source of income.
The schemes are the first wave of a £475,000 project aimed at reducing energy costs for small rural businesses and provide a 20 year funding stream which can be used to help support the County Council’s delivery of front line services.
The projects have used compact wind turbines commissioned from Norfolk-based specialist, Windcrop. At 15m high and with a blade span of 5.6m the turbines are about the size of a mature tree and have been specially developed to be in scale with their surroundings to allow communities and householders to reap the maximum benefits of generating free electricity from wind power with minimum visual impact.
Cliff Jordan, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Efficiency said: “In these tough times, Norfolk County Council needs to be more entrepreneurial and find fresh ways of tapping into new sources of income that will make us less dependent on central Government funding. Our recently-announced review, which we call Enterprising Norfolk, is designed to achieve just that.
“Norfolk Energy Futures, which we set up just over a year ago, is a good example of how we can do this and I am very pleased that the company has completed its first project. These schemes will help several small rural Norfolk businesses lower their energy costs and will reduce our reliance on fossil fuel to generate electricity. Just as importantly, they have secured a long term source of income from selling the energy they generate and from the green energy grants that they have qualified for.
“I am very confident that there are more commercial opportunities like this for NEF that will generate new sources of income to support the County Council’s primary objective which is to deliver good quality, better value for money services for Norfolk residents.”
John Moore, managing director at Windcrop Ltd, said: “Our small turbines are ideal for farm sites as wind power is the most efficient and productive renewable energy generation technology to install. As well as providing a long term income for NEF the turbines will make a significant contribution to reducing the cost of the farms power usage and help to cut carbon footprint. We are delighted to work directly with NEF to help make each of these county farm sites, and ultimately the council, more environmentally and economically efficient for the future.”