The RSPB plans to build a wind turbine at its UK headquarters that would generate two-thirds of the energy needed by the charity's 127 UK sites.
It has been working with green energy company Ecotricity for three years to identify a suitable location for the turbine and will soon submit a planning application for a 100m turbine that will be able to generate 2.36 million kWh per annum.
If the RSPB’s head offices at the Lodge nature reserve in Bedfordshire are found to suitable the earliest the turbine would be erected would be autumn 2013. It has signed a 12-year power purchase agreement with Ecotricity meaning the company will fund the building of the turbine and RSPB will buy its energy from Ecotricity.
Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director, said: “We are keen to promote the use of wind energy where it does not result in unacceptable impacts to wildlife and we are confident that this is a suitable location to do so.”
Before deciding on the site at the Lodge, Ecotricity carried out detailed studies on the potential impact in areas such as health and safety, cultural heritage and wildlife and the charity is confident that the project will be able to go ahead. A spokesman said that if the proposal is turned down the charity “will look again at our land to see if there is another suitable site”.
The charity has previously objected to the building of wind turbines where it feels wildlife could be harmed. So far it has commented on more than 1,500 wind farm applications and lodged an objection in around 6 per cent of cases.
It is a major part of the charity’s strategy to reduce its carbon emissions by 3 per cent per year with an overall target of 80 per cent reduction by 2050. Other initiatives include smaller turbines, geothermal heat technology and solar panels and a drive to reduce unnecessary staff travel by encouraging staff to share lifts or cycle. A spokesman told civilsociety.co.uk that the charity was “currently on track to meet that target”.