PLANS to build a massive wind turbine between the Cowley works and Horspath are being unveiled today by Oxford City Council
The single commercial-scale turbine is set to be built on council-
owned land across the road from the Horspath Road Athletics Track. And
it is being viewed as a first step towards making Oxford a national
leader in developing major wind energy schemes.
The £3m turbine will have a combined blade and tower height of
130m, making it taller than the 122m turbine beside the M4, outside
Reading. And the proposed 2.5 MW turbine will produce quantities of
green energy equivalent to that used by 1,200 households a year. It
promises to be one of the first wind energy developments to be built on
council land in the UK. Detailed technical and environmental work will
shortly begin with a view to submitting a planning application in 2011.
Partnerships for Renewables, set up by the Carbon Trust to work
with the public sector, will pay for the development costs, with an
annual payment made to Oxford City Council.
Last year, the Town Hall asked experts to look at four possible sites
for a wind turbine, all on the edge of the city. The other sites were
at Cutteslowe Park; close to the Hinksey Heights Golf Club; and south
of Greater Leys.
Tom Brinicombe, of Partner-ships for Renewables, said the Horspath
site had been selected because it was a suitable distance from housing,
with no environmentally designated land nearby.
He said: “There are also a number of businesses and organisations
in the vicinity of the site. There is potential for the turbines to
supply green electricity directly to them. We would be happy to discuss
this opportunity with local electricity users as part of our
“The current plans are to have just one turbine. But there is the
potential to have more. If we do that we will make sure the local
community knows exactly what is going on.”
The company hailed the announcement as “a major breakthrough in the
pursuit of renewable energy generation on council land.” Mr Brinicombe
said: “We have spoken to the vast majority of local authorities in
England and Wales. Oxford is the first one to show the leadership to
come into this.”
A test mast will shortly go up to see if the wind power is sufficient.
John Tanner, the city council board member for a Cleaner, Greener
Oxford, said: “The site is a first for Oxford and a practical
contribution to creating a Low Carbon city. Wind turbines are quiet,
graceful and not a threat to wildlife. Compared to ugly electricity
pylons, wind turbines are a huge improvement for Oxford’s environment.
“The real threat to our countryside locally is not wind turbines
but climate change. I hope everyone will support this wind turbine
plan. Both the city council and Partnerships for Renewables are
committed to ensuring that the local community is central to the
The idea of building a wind turbine near Hinksey Heights has been
dropped after early protests. But if the Horspath scheme proved
successful, Partnerships for Renewables hinted that Cutteslowe Park and
Greater Leys could later see turbines.