The wind farm at Nissan Sunderland

The wind farm at Nissan Sunderland is now fully operational and has begun generating power for the plant.

Construction of the £2 million project began in September, when the first of six wind turbines was installed in the centre of the 750 acre site.

Now the switch-on has been successfully completed, and the turbines have begun generating what will amount to 5% of the car plant's annual energy requirement. They will also cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants supplying the car factory by up to 10,000 tonnes/year.

Planning permission for the farm was granted by Sunderland City Council following a highly detailed feasibility study. This took into consideration the views and opinions of local residents, as well as ensuring that the farm fully complies with strict noise level guidelines.

Nissan's wind farm is enclosed entirely within an industrial area on low-lying ground, minimising impact on the local environment. Barmston Pond, a wetland habitat next to and maintained by the Sunderland plant, will remain undisturbed as a safe haven and feeding ground for indigenous and migratory birds.

The site is also home to a protected species of great crested newts, so before installation began, Nissan obtained a licence from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and measures were taken to protect the newts' habitat both during and after the construction phase.

Nissan Senior Engineer, Graham Bagley, said: 'All six turbines are now turning and generating electricity for the plant. We're very pleased with the initial output.

'The farm is the first of its kind for any Nissan facility and is receiving great interest globally from within the Company.'

Published : 12/11/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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