RSPB to power half of UK operations with wind

Europe's largest nature conservation charity will install a wind turbine at its national headquarters in Bedfordshire that will generate enough electricity to power more than half of its 127 UK locations.

RSPB announced that leading green energy company Ecotricity will commence construction of the 100-metre wind turbine on Monday (25 January) at the Sandy site in Bedfordshire.

Once completed, the turbine will generate two million units of clean, renewable energy and reduce RSPB carbon emissions by 800 tonnes annually.

Martin Harper, RSPB’s director of conservation, said: “Climate change is the single biggest threat to our planet. This is about our birds and wildlife as well as our way of life. Around the world, and even in the UK, we can already see how these changes are affecting wildlife, the places where they live as well as damage to our homes and disruptions to the economy.

“It is down to everyone to play their part. In the UK, we have the potential to generate a significant portion, if not all, of our electricity from sustainable sources. This will take time and it will take investment. So I am proud to say the RSPB continues to back words with actions to show we are serious about tackling the threat of climate change with our biggest single renewable energy project yet.”

The installation – which was mooted back in 2013 – is part of the growing portfolio of green projects that RSPB has agreed to as part of its target to reduce its carbon emissions by 3% per person, per year to 2020.

Green plan

Since 2007 RSPB has invested in solar photovoltaics, winder power, solar thermal collectors, ground source heat pumps and biomass generators.

RSPB has aligned its own carbon reductions with the 2008 Climate Change Act, which includes a legal duty for 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 2050. 

The Sandy location was chosen after three years of ecological and environmental research from Ecotricity.

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “This is a 21st century approach to making energy in Britain – it’s about working with our customers to make energy where they live and work, and sharing the benefits with them.

“Green energy puts power in the hands of the people – the technology allows us to democratise and decentralise energy in Britain.

“That’s exactly what this partnership does; it allows us to work together with our customers to make green energy where they need it and to share the benefits – the complete opposite of the old top down approach.”

Hybrid horizons

Ecotricity recently announced plans to build three new ‘hybrid’ renewable energy parks, combining wind and solar power generation in the same project.

The firm has also pushed ahead with a ‘ground-breaking’ new horizontal-axis windmill that can operate at half the cost of the current best-selling windmills.

Matt Mace

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