A TWENTY-METRE wind turbine set to power over ten percent of Yeovil’s new business Innovation Centre has been hoisted up by a team of energy experts.

A team of five transported the impressive piece of kit in a lorry to the site on Copse Road, becoming the first wind turbine on any business park in South Somerset.

The 15 kilo-watt turbine is one of the projects being run by South Somerset District Council’s climate change team to reduce the council’s own carbon emissions and will produce over 29,000 kilo-watt hours of energy each year.

It is expected to achieve annual carbon savings totalling over 16 tonnes a year - equivalent to the amount used by three entire households.

Keith Wheaton-Green, South Somerset District Council’s climate change officer, said: “Business parks are often perfect locations for these exciting pieces of technology and where better to start in South Somerset than the high-tech Innovation Centre.

“As well as making an immediate difference to the carbon footprint of the centre, it will generate around £6,000 worth of electricity each year and the district council’s contribution will break even by early 2012 after which it will begin saving taxpayer’s money.

"South Somerset District Council aims to reduce carbon emissions from its own activities, by 5% each year up to 2013, so we must start to take action.”

The £56,000 project has been funded through grants including an £18,000 contribution from EDF Energy’s Green Fund and £22,820 from the Low Carbon Building Programme - with South Somerset District Council funding the remaining £15,563.

Given the grants received, it is estimated that the payback time for South Somerset District Council’s aspect of the funding will be just 2.24 years, after which time it will become profitable.

Mr Wheaton-Green added: “Not only will this scheme be financially profitable within a very short period of time, but we will be saving 12% of the electricity used by the possible 36 businesses contained within the Innovation Centre.”

Cllr Tom Parsley, the council's environment and property spokesman, said: “This will help reduce carbon emissions and generate our own power, but this is really also about leading by example and showing businesses that it can be done, viably.

"This will show others that wind turbines can have a quick payback time and that they really can make a difference - we will soon start to see very visible progress.

"The wind turbine is just one of many projects we are running and we hope this is the start to many very positive green actions over the next few years.”

Cllr Peter Seib, South Somerset’s economic development spokesman, said: “South Somerset's business community is trying to reduce its carbon footprint and these medium sized turbines can contribute significantly.

"We wanted to show leadership and to dispel some of the "urban myths" surrounding wind power.

“The Innovation Centre is an ideal demonstration site, sufficiently windy and set in an industrial estate context.

"We will carefully monitor the actual power output and should be well-placed to advise businesses - as a user."

Jo Steven, who leads EDF Energy's Green Fund, said: "We are proud to support the renewable energy project at Yeovil Innovation Centre.

"We hope the wind turbine will provide a strong, visual signal of the commitment businesses and individuals can make to reduce their impact on the environment.

"We recognise in a challenging economic climate that not all businesses can install renewable energy technology, but there are steps we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Yeovil Innovation Centre - funded and supported by the South West RDA, South Somerset District Council and Somerset County Council - is now home to a wide range of businesses and offers space on a month-by-month lease with onsite business support.

Information on the wind turbine and its energy production will be available at www.southsomerset.gov.uk later this year.