Many British businesses could reduce energy costs by up to 35% by building wind turbines alongside industrial sites – say Friends of the Earth and green energy company Ecotricity.
UK-based businesses, like British households, are facing rising energy costs due to the massive worldwide demand for fossil fuels.
Supplying wind power directly on-site and bypassing the grid – a concept known as Merchant Wind Power – can drive down electricity costs by up to 35%, ensuring long-term security of supply, reducing carbon emissions and maximising development of industrialised brownfield land – all making British industry cleaner and more competitive.
And while only 1 in 4 wind farm proposals on greenfield sites currently receive planning approval from local authorities – 95% of wind projects on industrial land do get approved – yet only a handful of businesses across the UK currently power their operations directly from a wind turbine.
Friends of the Earth, Executive Director, Andy Atkins said: “British businesses, like British households, are facing rising energy costs due to the massive worldwide demand for oil, coal and gas.
“If we are serious about growing the country out of recession with a low-carbon economy, UK manufacturing and industry should be generating their own clean British energy on-site.”
Green energy company Ecotricity, built three wind turbines to power operations at Bristol Port almost five years ago – in that time the turbines have produced 72.2 Gwh of electricity (the equivalent of powering 3661 average homes annually), Bristol Port have used 55.5 Gwh, while the excess 16.8 Gwh has spilled onto the grid. This has reduced the Port’s energy bill by thousands of pounds and cut their carbon emissions by almost 24,000 tonnes of CO₂ (with the total output of the turbines saving 31,046 tonnes of CO₂).
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “Building wind power on-site and supplying it directly to a factory, a distribution centre or port, not only cuts carbon emissions but because you don’t need to transport electricity via the grid – energy costs can be slashed.
“Ecotricity pioneered Merchant wind-power ten years ago – we take on the cost and the risk of building the wind turbine – while the merchant customer simply provides the land and gets smaller energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint. Any unused electricity spills back onto the grid.
“In the process, British industry becomes more competitive – helping to safeguard local British industrial and manufacturing jobs.”
Operations at Bristol Port along with manufacturing at Ford’s Dagenham Diesel plant and Michelin’s Dundee factory are powered directly by the wind, while Sainsbury’s and B&Q have
distribution centres that also benefit from reduced costs via on-site wind power.
Later this year Ecotricity will be building wind turbines to power a second Michelin factory in Northern Ireland, while there is also planning permission for a windmill to be built at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which will take the Merchant Wind Power concept into the public sector.