Civils and stations

28.03.08

First ScotRail wants to introduce eco power at Leuchars Station in Fife

The train operator has lodged a planning application for a 6kw wind turbine which would supply all electricity needs for the station building, including heating and lighting.

The wind turbine would also be connected to the national grid – and it is likely there would be times when it generated enough electricity to feed the grid.

The green innovation is part of First ScotRail’s comprehensive climate change strategy aimed at reducing its carbon footprint.

Funding for the £29,000 renewable energy scheme has come from Transport Scotland which is encouraging businesses to address climate change.

Stewart Cahill, First ScotRail’s environmental manager, stressed that other locations are being looked at that another station site could be chosen at a future date.

However, he confirmed a planning application for the wind turbine, formally described as a micro renewable electricity generation system, has been lodged with Fife Council.

The application states the wind turbine would be mounted on a 15 metre mast at the end of the station platform.

Mr Cahill said it was expected the wind turbine would supply all electricity needs to the station building.

He added: “We have set ourselves tough targets on the environment and the wind turbine is yet another demonstration of our commitment to sustainability.”

“It would connect to the national grid and it is hoped at times it will supply the grid as well as the station building.”

The turbine manufacturer is Proven Energy, based in Stewarton, Ayrshire and with clients ranging from the Shetland Islands to the Falkland Islands.

The company’s model for Leuchars is described as “the most robust small scale wind turbine in the world” – and four were installed on the Isle of Eigg earlier this month.

It was the first time the island, which has 87 inhabitants, has had a mains connection. Until now, most of the homes on Eigg, 10 miles off the coast of Scotland, relied on generators.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said of the Leuchars’ proposal: "This project is obviously subject to a live planning application and the Government cannot comment on a specific planning application.

“However, it is crucial that businesses across Scotland should continue to look for innovative and imaginative proposals for energy generation. It is only through working together that we will achieve our ambitious proposed target of a 80% reduction in carbon emissions in Scotland by 2050.

“This Government believe that a key role of the planning system is to support a move towards new low and zero carbon developments through the use of energy efficient, microgenerating and decentralised renewable energy systems and that whilst doing so, ensuring impacts on local communities and other interests are satisfactorily addressed.”

The 6kw turbine, which contributes to reductions in CO2 emissions, will supply the equivalent to electricity to a standard 4-6 bedroom house and have the potential to store or sell excess production to the grid.

It has been widely adopted and used in schools, local authority buildings, agricultural small holdings, business and retail premises.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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