United Kingdom

United Kingdom

First home for small scale turbine

A new British designed and built wind turbine has found its first customer. Sunderland's Business Innovation Centre (BIC) in the north east of England now owns the first commercial model of the 20 kW Gazelle wind turbine. On September 6, government Secretary of State for Trade Stephen Byers formally "switched on" the turbine which will power the BIC's Technology Demonstration Centre on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland.

The Gazelle was designed by Morpeth based North Energy Associates Ltd. Its size makes it suitable for powering farms, schools, and small urban and rural businesses. It has been developed by the company's Garry Jenkins over the last three years with financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry and is now being manufactured under licence to Gazelle Wind Turbines Ltd, part of the MKW engineering group in Ryton, Tyne and Wear.

Byers, who is also the local member of parliament, remarked that the turbine complements the industrial environment by the riverside. "I have been talking to people working here and they don't find its appearance intrusive. They feel it makes a real contribution to industrial energy use," he said.

One of the turbine's neighbours corroborates the minister's comments. Brian Lister, head of radio station Sun FM, whose premises overlook the turbine, finds it both attractive and a useful landmark. Lister draws a parallel between Sun FM and the Gazelle: "The turbine's energy is locally used; we're a very local radio station which can run at a profit because of modern technology and modern materials. We are both small scale industries, working at community level, and viable. We and the wind turbine are a perfect fit."

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