“If we’re to meet our carbon emission reduction target and secure our energy supply, we need on shore wind turbines as well as offshore ones,” said Ipswich Green Party coordinator Barry Broom. “I live in Chantry and welcome these majestic symbols of clean energy in my backyard. But I’d like to see them also as propellers of the local economy. There would be more local support if locals were given a chance to invest in the project.”
Robert Lindsay, co-ordinator of Babergh Green Party said: “The company says it is open to community investment where possible. Babergh and Ipswich councils should follow the examples of other councils and not miss this golden investment opportunity. Under the Feed in Tariff scheme, revenues from the turbines are guaranteed and inflation linked for the next 20 years.”
“I and Barry Broom have met the company to propose that a proportion of the project is opened up for community investment. The company has not ruled this out and its own literature states it will explore the idea where possible.”
Ipswich Borough Council’s current arrangement with Partnership for Renewables, signed in 2009 by the then ruling Conservative/LibDem administration, envisages merely leasing the land to PfR in return for rent. PfR is also saying it will pay £12,500 a year into a community benefit fund. At current feed in tariff rates (which may be cut after 31 March) the turbines would generate £480,000 annual inflation-linked revenue the turbines will generate for their owners for the next 20 years.
Wind turbines have the potential to substantially increase revenue for hard-pressed local authorities like Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Babergh District Council and even Belstead Parish Council were it to choose to invest.
Barry Broom added: “Ipswich Conservative and Lib Dem councillors agreed the tender to build the turbines but several of their number are now saying they don’t like them. Meanwhile the ruling Labour councillors in Ipswich have been cowardly in their silence. It’s time they spoke up in their favour.”