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Wind Powers Middlesbrough To Energy Self-Sufficiency

Thu 19th Sep 2013 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Winds blowing from in from the North Sea will power Middlesbrough FC to energy self-sufficiency after the Championship club agreed a multi-million pound scheme that will make them the UK's first major football club and sports venue to use a wind turbine.

Supplied by London-based renewable energy developer, Empowering Wind Group, the club will site a 136m-tall wind turbine in the Riverside Stadium's overflow car park, ready to start generating electricity from May 2014. 

The 1.5MW turbine will provide all the electricity required for the stadium for the next 20 years, replacing power that would otherwise be drawn from the National Grid with carbon-free energy generated by the wind.

Empowering Wind MFC Ltd, the turbine's operator, will gain "several million pounds" during its envisaged 25-year lifetime, in line with OFGEM's feed-in tariff for wind turbines of up to 1.5MW capacity.

Empowering Wind's total investment in the scheme, including all planning, professional and legal fees for erecting the turbine, will total more than £3.5m.

Middlesbrough’s Chief Executive, Neil Bausor, said, "We are delighted to launch this pioneering initiative in association with Empowering Wind, which gives us a major environmental lead in football.

"Energy consumption is a key factor for all businesses and we have worked incredibly hard in recent years to reduce our costs significantly. It is exciting to think we will become the UK's first football club to have a completely sustainable energy consumption programme.

"As well as being good for the environment, this initiative will also enable us to make extra savings and enhance our aspirations on the field."

Empowering Wind's chief executive, Paul Millinder, added, "Middlesbrough FC needs congratulating on its far-sightedness in launching this pioneering long-term initiative with us, which is the first of its kind in Europe and possibly worldwide.

"The Middlesbrough wind turbine demonstrates our strategy of specialising in embedded power generation and developing renewable energy where it is needed, where the presence of a turbine is justified by eliminating substantial on-site power demands and the associated carbon emissions of electricity that would otherwise be drawn from the National Grid.

"Our turbine has an oversize rotor, full power converter and direct-drive technology with fewer moving parts and therefore reduced operating and maintenance costs. The gearless technology, combined with savings in excitation power, create a higher energy yield. The turbine also cuts in and starts generating at a wind speed of only 2.5 metres a second, generating power even on days of a relatively gentle breeze.

"This initiative demonstrates the financial and environmental benefits to football clubs and other arena-based sports organisations. We are extremely keen to engage with other football clubs and sports stadia on a similar basis."

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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