Monday, 8 March 2010

Hackney's east marsh wind turbine - how the money works

Under my FOIA request dated 8 February 2010, I asked Hackney council:

8) What is the estimated revenue from re-selling the electricity generated by the turbine?

9) What will this revenue be used for?

This is Hackney council's response, dated 8 March 2010:

"In response to the above questions:

The Council will not re-sell the electricity generated by the turbine, but will look to utilise this power for local benefit, for instance to power the borough’s street lighting and main Council buildings."

10) Over how many years will the turbine have paid for itself?

11) Under what budget category is the initial capital outlay?

"In response to the above questions:

The Council does not hold information in relation to Questions 10 and 11. The turbine will be developed by a private company. In developing their proposals, the developer will be expected to consider a full range of financial viability factors."


  1. The Council's response to your first question is nonsense! Frankly if they believe this and it's not just spin then we really are in trouble.

    The electricity will not belong to the council so they can't resell it, and there is no technical or regulatory way in which they can "utilise the power for local benefit".
    The proposal is for a grid-connected generator built, funded and operated by a 3rd party private company (Ecotricity), and the power produced will be sold on the wholesale market and distributed across the country according to demand (and indeed to France and Eire). The profits go to the turbine operator, the electricity goes to everyone.

    The only direct benefit to Hackney is the £50,000 a year income from the lease of the site, a fraction of the cost of keeping Hackney Today churning off the presses...

  2. Good points here. It's interesting that the scheme has been packaged as a way of directly powering council buildings and street lights. This is misleading, since - as you point out - the proposed turbine is grid-connected and power will have to be bought from an electricity supplier, just as it is now.

    What Hackney council hasn't said outright is that it actually doesn't matter at all whether the turbine is viable. Rent will come back from the lease of the site, in any case.