Turbo power

THE Illuminations might well shine out for 66 nights but they're saving on power compared to recent years.

And the aim is for the autumn display to be totally carbon neutral by 2010.

In 1999 the six miles of Illuminations used 1,454kw of electricity.

By last year this had been reduced to 915kw, a massive saving of 37 per cent – putting it in perspective that is enough power to run a large office building of 2,000 people.

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The "green" journey started with the transition from 25w incandescent internal lamps to fluorescent tubes.

The next step was the arrival of low voltage (24v) power utilising a specially designed 5w lamp. Previously lamps were 110v 15 watt and tended to fail in poor weather.

This change alone has resulted in significantly improved reliability, meaning reduced numbers of site visits by illuminations staff, helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Since 2002 Leds (light emitting diodes) and fixtures have been the standard for all new and upgraded features.

These are the most efficient means of generating light available and they are used in almost one third of the show.

Last year saw the introduction of the first zero energy illumination tableau The Green Machine (above), proudly powered solely by solar and wind energy – truly carbon neutral.

At the same time, Blackpool Illuminations designed and created a contemporary and stunning roadway section for sponsors Beaverbrooks the Jewellers, only using 24volt LED lamps, which contributed to a massive 83 per cent saving on energy consumption.

Putting it another way, the energy used is so low you could even plug the whole section into a 13amp plug to power it!

Blackpool Illuminations only use green electricity from renewable resources compromising of wind, small-scale hydro, landfill and Bio-Gas.

This procurement of green electricity has reduced the annual Illuminations carbon dioxide emissions to zero, a saving of 420 tonnes per year in the atmosphere.

The final push for carbon neutrality began in May of this year, with the introduction of two wind turbines on South Promenade linked directly to the Illumination supply.

These two turbines will generate three per cent of the power needed for this year's display.

A modest start, maybe, but more turbines are planned and when all are installed in 2010 then the greatest free show on Earth will be a razzle dazzle affair that is completely carbon neutral.