Local residents will no doubt have noticed that the two long-awaited wind turbines have now been erected at Michelin’s Ballymena factory, following months of ground-work.
The Ballymena site, which manufactures bus and truck tyres, recently reached its 30 millionth tyre and for the last five years has focused on energy saving projects to improve efficiency. However the pace of rising energy costs means that the Company is turning to alternative methods of power generation.
The two turbines will significantly reduce the Company’s dependence on conventional carbon emitting fuels, with any additional electricity generated entering the local grid system. By cutting energy costs, the Company is helping to lower its operational expenditure to improve its competitiveness.
Similar turbines were installed on site at Michelin’s Dundee manufacturing plant in 2006, and currently provide around 30 per cent of the electricity required for the factory.
Wilton Crawford, Factory Manager at Michelin Ballymena states: “The wind turbines are a welcome asset for Michelin in Ballymena, and will help alleviate the challenge of increased energy costs, particularly as energy prices in Northern Ireland far surpass those in Europe. The wind turbines have been designed with the local community in mind, being state-of-the-art in terms of low noise and design. We pride ourselves on our energy efficiency credentials and the wind turbines attest to our commitment to the wider green agenda. This reinforces our commitment to PRM, Michelin’s CSR policy, and in particular to one of our core values of respect for the environment.”
The turbines have been provided by green energy company, Ecotricity, and have a capacity of 4.6MW – the equivalent of powering around 3,500 homes each year.
To engage the local community, Michelin is running a competition with primary and secondary schools inviting children to submit suggestions for the naming of the turbines. The competition is due to close on Friday 1 March 2013.