Kielder Observatory in Northumberland fundraising for new on-site wind turbine

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A popular Northumberland attraction has launched a fundraising campaign to pay for a new wind turbine.

Kielder Observatory is attempting to crowdfund more than £32,000 for the turbine, the required concrete base and installation.

The observatory is not connected to the national grid and currently generates all its own electricity using solar panels and an existing wind turbine.

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The turbine that has powered operations so far was first installed in March 2008 when the Kielder Observatory first opened.

Kielder Observatory is crowdfunding to buy a new £32,000 wind turbine.Kielder Observatory is crowdfunding to buy a new £32,000 wind turbine.
Kielder Observatory is crowdfunding to buy a new £32,000 wind turbine.

Originally envisaged to host a handful of events each year, the building now hosts more than 700, leading to over 20,000 visitors annually.

The resultant increase in energy consumption, along with the storm-accelerated wear and tear of the old turbine, have meant additional capacity is required.

Operations and marketing director at Kielder Observatory, Hannah Matterson, said: “We are pretty hopeful of reaching our target.

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“We have some very generous visitors and we know we have a good social media following.

“We are hoping that those people who have been to the observatory in the past will understand how great and how important it is that we keep these things running and hopefully that means that more people will be able to enjoy us in the future.

“We felt that crowdfunding would be a really good way of getting our visitors involved in the process so when they do come and visit us they will be able to see what difference they have made and they can have some pride in knowing they are helping make the dark skies accessible for more people.”

The turbine would help insulate the observatory from the spike in energy prices seen by businesses recently and avoid the disruption to the surrounding environment and wildlife that would be required to connect with the main grid.

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Ms Matterson added: “We want to play our part in terms of climate change and we know that pollution will affect the dark skies.

“Anything that means we are not going to have that environmental impact is always a good thing for us.”

The funding drive is happening on Spacehive, a website that works in partnership with local authorities.

This is because the observatory has applied to the North of Tyne Combined Authority for a funding contribution.

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