SIR David Attenborough yesterday launched Glyndebourne’s controversial wind turbine, endorsing the opera house as an environmental innovator in the arts community.
The venue in East Sussex said it was the first UK arts organisation to generate its own power using a large scale wind turbine.
It said Glyndebourne’s 2012 Festival would run on wind power, with the 220ft turbine contributing substantially to the organisation’s aspiration that 90 per cent of the power required to stage Glyndebourne’s operas will be delivered sustainably through renewable energy.
Sir David, a long-time Glyndebourne supporter, said: “Wind power can never provide for all our wants, but every bit of power generated by wind must be welcomed. Even if we only generate a fraction of what our country needs in this way, then we must.
“Installing a wind turbine was the single most significant action that Glyndebourne could take to reduce its carbon emissions. We hope it could represent the start of a legacy for other arts organisations to explore practical ways of reducing their carbon footprint.”
Objectors have described the turbine as “Glyndebourne’s Folly”. However, it has been championed by Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s executive chairman, who said it is a positive step towards the venue’s goal of becoming carbon neutral.
He said: “I believe this turbine is symbolic of our age and an object of beauty as it harnesses the wind to provide sustainable power. We hope our turbine will inspire other organisations to explore ways in which they can directly reduce their carbon footprint.”
Verity Cannings, 16, an eco rep at nearby Ringer Community College, which took part in the launch, welcomed the innovation.
She said: “To have an operational wind turbine so close to our school is fantastic. Renewable energy is so important for the future and I am excited that Ringmer Community College is able to be here to see genuine environmental action being taken.
“Glyndebourne is inspiring communities by exploring ways to reduce its carbon footprint and I hope other companies will follow its lead.”