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Sheppey prison harnesses wind power

With the push of a button, green energy is now being produced by two wind turbines on Sheppey prison land.

The 121m-high turbines, at HMP Standford Hill, Eastchurch, were switched on by MP Gordon Henderson on Friday.

Wind energy developer Partnerships for Renewables (PfR) will provide the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) with a rent based on a percentage of the money it earns through the sale of electricity.

It is also hoped the prison will receive electricity directly from the turbines.
Sarah Coccia, governor of the Sheppey Prison Cluster, said: “One of the responsibilities of my role as governor is to find ways to reduce the overheads of the prison and therefore provide better value for the taxpayer.

“The development of the wind energy park has been fascinating to both watch and be part of. I am very proud to be able to view these turbines, now built, from my office window.”

A £10,000 Community Benefit Fund will be donated to the surrounding area by PfR, annually for the next 25 years.

Eastchurch Parish Council, stakeholder groups and residents are being invited to suggest how the money should be spent.

A PfR spokesman said clay dug out for the turbines’ foundations was used to mend a leaking pond for fishermen and aggregate was carried over from the construction site to build an all-weather car park for anglers.

Work was carried out to ensure reptiles, such as grass snake, adder, common lizard and slow worm, were protected during the construction, which started in October 2012.

Bird monitoring and habitat management for species like marsh harriers and bats will go on over a 90-acre area for the 25- year life of the project.

The two Enercon E82 turbines would have a combined generating capacity of 4.6 megawatts, enough to power the equivalent of 2,257 homes and displace about 4,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Stephen Ainger, the CEO of PfR, said: “This is a big step for our company and its partners, and I hope it is a development that both the Ministry of Justice and the Isle of Sheppey can feel proud of.”

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