Lancaster University has begun installing its wind turbine, with the 100 metre turbine being erected on the east side of the M6 motorway.
Planning permission for the project was granted in April 2011 by Lancaster City Council, after a previous application for the construction of two turbines was rejected.
Once fully installed, the turbine will be tested for a number of weeks and it is expected to be fully functional by November 2012. It should provide 11-17% of the University’s energy requirements. However that figure is dependent on long term average wind speed and site consumption.
Lancaster University’s Vice Chancellor, Mark E. Smith, stressed the importance of the University adopting environmentally friendly measures, “the University takes it duty to be a responsible employer very seriously, and this includes treading as lightly as possible on the environment. The wind turbine is just one of a whole package of carbon saving and environmentally positive projects that we are introducing, the combined effect of which will be to improve energy efficiency and getting staff and students thinking about ways that they can contribute to carbon reduction.”
Other carbon reducing measures include launching a Community Benefits package to support local community environmental projects, replacing the University’s main boilers and installing a biomass boiler.
The University is also expanding its carbon saving competitions for students, targeting staff in order to enable them to improve energy efficiency in their work areas as well as implementing dozens of small scale energy and water saving projects.
It is hoped that completion of all these projects over the next three years will reduce carbon emissions by over 30%. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has set a target for all Higher Education institutions to reduce their emissions by 43% by 2020.
HEFCE’s Transformational Fund has provided a loan to the University for the £5m wind turbine project. This fund is aimed at getting Higher Education institutions to transform their approach to managing their energy consumption and reducing emissions. Lancaster University is only one of three institutions to receive this support.
The Lancaster University Green Party described the wind turbine’s installation as “an excellent development”, whilst Green Lancaster said, “the wind turbine is certainly a positive step forward with regards to reducing the University’s reliance on electricity generated from finite fossil fuel sources. We look forward to hearing more about its impacts in terms of generating capacity and effect on equivalent CO2 output once it is up and running.”