Financial benefits of council’s energy park is questioned

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Resident Chris Stirling, who supports the campaign against Peterborough City Council’s energy park plans at Newborough, has questioned the financial benefits of the scheme.

Mr Stirling has broad experience of working with public sector clients and has produced a financial breakdown of what he believes investors can expect from the council’s energy park plans.

The current planning application which covers solar panels could yield as little 0.82 per cent return for investors according to Mr Stirling and this is far from the figures most would require to invest in such a scheme.

He said: “The planning application that has gone in is solar panels only. I have sent my figures to the council and they have not disputed them with me.

“It appears that the return on investment is very low.”

Mr Stirling also believes that the costs of the project could be higher than in the figures so far published by the city council.

He added: “There is a lot of evidence, some from leading experts, that the lifetime of this sort of equipment is around ten to 15 years at their full production capacity. The council’s plans are stretched over 25 years and there doesn’t appear to be any sums set aside for that contingency. There are also no sums budgeted to return the land to agricultural use at the end of the project.”

A spokesman for the council said: “His numbers are unfortunately not correct. The return on investment is in excess of nine per cent. For just solar it is nine per cent plus, for wind plus solar the return is at 30 per cent plus. Wind and solar are very complimentary . Wind tends to be more efficient at generating the power.

He added: “A lifetime cost of £330m across the all solar option would yield around nine per cent return, a net income of around £30m which is around 10 per cent return.

“It is a fully costed model.”

With regard to maintenance and decommissioning the spokesman said: “A whole life approach will have been taken to this entire project. We are looking at the full 30 year period. The model includes whatever funds are necessary for repairs maintenance and other costs. We have a model we are confident we can deliver. I’m certain that all costs are included. Costs have been allowed for decommissioning.”