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A wind turbine surrounded by clouds

England's tallest wind turbine coming to the South West

Jack Wride
Authored by Jack Wride
Posted: Monday, November 8, 2021 - 15:36

Bristol City Council has agreed to lease land for the construction of England’s tallest wind turbine, which will be run by community interest company Ambition Community Energy (ACE).

ACE, which was set up by charity organisation Ambition Lawrence Weston (ALW) in 2018, had planning permission approved for the 150m structure in July of last year on local authority land in Avonmouth, close to several other turbines already erected by the local council.

Labour cabinet members have agreed to let the land to ACE for 30 years. The cost of the lease, believed to be below market value, has not been disclosed for commercial reasons. There will also be an additional annual rent of £25,000 paid to the local authority which will compensate for the loss of income from the diminished wind flow to the existing turbines.

Labour Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy mayor, said: “Projects like this are an innovative way for us to demonstrate our commitment to a just transition. It allows us to drive forward the decarbonisation of our city’s energy systems while supporting the development of our local communities.”

According to ACE’s tender document, the wine turbine will save close to 50,000 tonnes of carbon over its lifetime and produce renewable energy for 3,500 nearby homes, as well as council buildings and schools. Profits from the sales of its electricity – potentially in excess of £4.2m – will fund local developments planned by Lawrence Weston, including a £1.7m community hub providing training, social support and debt advice. There will also be an on-site Energy Learning Zone to educate the local community on renewable energy.

ACE are still in the process of securing the full £4.8m investment needed to fund the project. At present they have received a total of nearly £1.1m in grants and loans, including £500,000 from the West of England Combined Authority and £450,000 borrowed from Bristol City Funds.

Labour Councillor Nicola Beech, responsible for climate, ecology, waste & energy, said: “Promoting and supporting the continued transformation and progression of community energy in the city is absolutely at the backbone of our energy strategy, so this is something as an administration we have been committed to.”

Green shadow lead for waste and energy Councillor Martin Fodor added: “It’s a really valuable project and it’s evidence of what has been developing in the city for well over a decade of grassroots, community-led projects which provide the maximum benefit and maximum variety of outcomes for communities through owning, controlling, initiating and innovating in local energy projects, like the solar farm in Lawrence Weston.”

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