Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn
Our first public sector turbine
This wind park is the first public sector organisation to be powered by green energy from their own, on site, large scale wind turbine provided in a merchant scheme.
The electricity generated will be fed directly to the hospital, reducing its import of conventional polluting electricity, in the process reducing the hospital’s carbon emissions and its annual electricity bill.
The QEH is blazing a trail which we believe will very soon become a well trodden path. The public sector should be leading the way in the fight against climate change, and the biggest step that actually can be taken in that regard, is to change where electricity comes from.
Site address - The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn
Building Since - 05 Feb 2010
Turbines - 1
Hub height - 56m
Rotor diameter - 48m
Capacity - 0.8MW
Green electricity per year -
1.94 million units
Equivalent homes - 589
CO2 savings - 835 tonnes
Creating a safe construction site - 18 April 2012
Well it has taken us longer than we were expecting to get construction underway on this site. If you are from round the area of King’s Lynn you will know how tight the parking is at the hospital. In order to make a safe construction site we will have to close off some of the car park.
Ecotricity are working with the hospital to find the parking elsewhere in the hospital to make sure that no one is inconvenience by the presence of the turbine. We hope to have resolved this shortly and fingers crossed will have started construction by the end of the year.
Starting our construction plans - 28 September 2010
Since we gained planning permission for this site, we have been working with the Hospital to progress construction on-site. No date has been set for the construction to begin but we hope that it will take place in 2011.
Planning permission despite the blizzards! - 08 February 2010
Well, we decided to take this application to appeal for a second time. We all battled through the January blizzards to have a site visit with the Planning Inspector and it proved worthwhile.
Finally after two years of planning, two planning applications, two poor planning decisions from Kings Lynn Planning Committee and two appeals we have permission for the first ever wind turbine through a public/private partnership. The Inspector even took the time in his written decision to praise us for working with public bodies to provide them with green energy at a cheaper price.
Let’s hope the next partnership we have with a public organisation doesn’t take quite as long as this on: the climate needs a lot more intensive care than we’re currently giving it.
Planning commitee refuses the application - 06 August 2009
We hoped it would go in front of planning committee on the 15th June, but it did not make it there till the 3rd August. It still had officer’s recommendation and yet again King’s Lynn Planning Committee chose to not listen to their officer’s advice and refused the application.
This application has already been seen by the planning inspectorate once and his only reason for refusal was a technicality over a missing comment on bird data. This was resolved as Natural England has no objection.
As you can imagine we are a bit disgruntled by this decision but sadly not surprised, and so are now considering our options. The planning committee were advised by their own legal team that due to the existing ruling on this application by the planning inspectorate, if it is approved at appeal Ecotricity are very likely to get costs from the Council.
It is disheartening that at a time when we are all looking to save money a project that is being created to save QEH money on their fuel bills so that more can be spent on patient care could end up costing the same tax payers if costs are awarded and all due to the fact that the elected few did not follow their own expert’s advice.
Committee date announced - 09 June 2009
Our QEH application is due to go in front of the committee on Monday 15th June. It has the Officer's recommendation for approval so ... Watch this space.
Resubmitting - 30 March 2009
We resubmitted this application to Kings Lynn Council today. This time we can’t see any reason for refusal! Eight weeks before we should get a decision.
Refused on a technicality - 30 January 2009
Well, the Planning Inspector came back with his decision – it was refused. We were left scratching our heads to be honest. The inspector refused on only one issue - the impact of the turbine on birds in the hospital site.
He insisted he didn’t have enough information on the matter to make a decision, even though experts at Natural England backed the project, because they had not had the opportunity to comment on a year bird survey we’d carried out … so … a technicality basically!
Needless to say we’re considering our options!
Wind turbine application goes to appeal - 14 November 2008
Ecotricity and QEH’s application for a single wind turbine to power the hospital was turned down by West Norfolk Council's Development Control Board in April this year. Ecotricity have today announced they will take the project to appeal.
“We are taking this project to appeal and are confident that the only objection currently raised against it can be resolved. It’s a shameful waste of time and money but sadly it’s an all too common example of a planning process not fit for purpose.
Two thirds of all wind projects are refused by District Councils at the planning stage, and two thirds of all appeals are upheld by the government – a lot of bad decisions get overturned, eventually. Wind energy is the only major generation source that depends for planning on District Councils – the government deals with all others for very good reasons. District councils are not up to the job, on the whole. Local authorities routinely abdicate from the decision making process, refusing applications on unjustified and spurious grounds, making little attempt to understand the issues and resolve conflicts.” Dale Vince, MD Ecotricity
If the project goes ahead it will be the first initiative of its kind within the public sector. Ecotricity’s Merchant Wind Power model has been around since 2001, when they built the UK's very first such project for Sainsbury's. Since then a host of commercial organisations have taken advantage of it. Household names such as Ford, The Pru, Co op bank, Michelin and B&Q are all benefiting from their own source of green generation, real carbon savings (not offsets) and lower electricity bills.
“The QEH is blazing a trail which we believe will very soon become a well trodden path. The public sector should be leading the way in the fight against climate change, and the biggest step that actually can be taken in that regard, is to change where electricity comes from. We’re facing the twin problems of a global energy crisis – the world is running out of oil and gas – and we can’t afford to burn the stuff anyway because of climate change. Wind energy is a local resource, it grows here in the UK and we can just make our own energy from it and solve both problems.” Dale Vince.
Barbara Cummings, Director of Performance and Informatics at the QEH said, 'We are hoping for a positive outcome from this appeal for two reasons. First, we are very proud of our achievements so far in reducing our carbon footprint and a wind turbine would enable us to take this policy further. Second, a wind turbine will allow us to make savings on our energy bill. And every penny we can save is a penny more available for patient care.'
QEH turned down - 28 April 2008
Our application to build a single turbine at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, was turned down today by West Norfolk Council's Development Control Board. We had put in a request to defer the decision for a few weeks while we worked with the MoD and the local Air Ambulance to make sure they were 100% happy with the project. The decision went against us by just one vote.
"We're disappointed with the decision. The two objections raised to the project could have both been resolved in a few weeks. Both the MoD and Air Ambulance supported our application to defer and confirmed to the Council that their issues could be resolved in a short time. The committee had it in their power to defer the application and the vote was a close one, 7-8 against. It's a shameful waste of time and money that we now either have to resubmit or go to appeal." Dale Vince, MD Ecotricity