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No wind turbine at the London Olympic Park

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The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) today announced that following an extensive process of research and industry engagement, the decision has been taken not to deliver a wind turbine on the Olympic Park site. The ODA remains committed to its sustainability targets and work is now underway to identify alternative options for renewable energy infrastructure across the Olympic Park.

A wind turbine had been proposed for Eton Manor in the north of the site as part of the ODA’s target to deliver 20% of the Olympic Park’s legacy energy requirements from renewable sources from 2014 onwards when the site is fully operational. A number of factors have changed the industry environment in which the Olympic Park wind turbine project was being delivered and led to a thorough examination of the turbine proposals on the Eton Manor site. For example, new wider safety legislation which applied to design elements of this particular wind turbine (specifically the internal operator lift) came into effect - the preferred bidder’s turbine supplier for the project felt unable to comply with these new regulations before the Games and withdrew from the project. This resulted in further engagement with the wider industry. Subsequent industry feedback was that the new requirements that apply to this particular turbine design and the challenging delivery timetable mean the project would not be appropriate at the Olympic Park location. This resulted in limited commercial interest in the project and led to the ODA’s decision that it is no longer feasible for the turbine to move ahead.

ODA Chief Executive David Higgins said: 'We have carried out an exhaustive process with the industry and suppliers over the last two years to find a viable way of delivering a wind turbine on the Olympic Park site. However, the industry environment has changed and that means the project is no longer feasible.
'We have a strong track record in sustainability and we remain committed to meeting the challenging renewable energy targets we have set ourselves. Our focus is now on researching a number of alternative renewable energy options across the Olympic Park site to help contribute to these targets and compliment the other state-of-the art new energy infrastructure we are building.”

A significant proportion of the ODA’s 20% renewable energy target will be met by the state-of-the-art new Energy Centre being built on the Olympic Park site. Work is now underway to identify additional options for renewable energy infrastructure across the Olympic Park to help meet the shortfall in the 20% target. The possible options include:

Photo Volatic (PV) panels

  • The possible installation of photo voltaic solar panels at locations around the Olympic Park site to deliver renewable solar energy.

Biomass Gasification unit

  • The possible installation of a biomass gasification combined heat and power (CHP) unit close to the Energy Centre site is being looked at as a source of renewable energy.
  • Gasification units heat biomass materials (wood chip) in the absence of oxygen to create gas (a process known as pyrolysis). The resultant gas can be channelled to generators, helping generate electricity and the excess heat can also be captured and reused.
  • Biomass fuel is a net zero carbon fuel

A business plan for the possible procurement and installation of a biomass gasification plant is now being taken forward. Possible locations for solar PV panels are also now being identified and will be followed by the development of a business case for the procurement and installation of the cells. The ODA expects further decisions to be taken on these two renewable energy options in the summer of 2010.

The procurement process for the Olympic Park wind turbine began in Spring 2008 with a preferred bidder appointed in December 2008. In 2010, new health and safety regulations came into effect which, for reasons of design, applied to this particular wind turbine. The preferred bidder’s turbine supplier felt unable to comply with these new regulations before the Games and subsequently withdrew from the wind turbine project. The ODA re-engaged with the industry and feedback is now that this wind turbine design would not be appropriate at the Olympic Park location.

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