Wind turbine could be installed in grounds of Houses of Parliament in a bid to reduce energy consumption.

Architect Building Design Partnership is in talks with the Palace of Westminster that could result in a wind turbine being installed in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

The talks with the Parliamentary Estates directorate are over plans to rationalise the site's building services and install renewable energy generators. It is thought that solar panels and a wind turbine have been discussed.

It is understood the practice has been working with the estates department for 18 months and has a team at parliament. The projects are part of a wider 20-year refurbishment programme at the Palace of Westminster.

BDP declined to comment on its relationship with the Palace of Westminster. However, the team is thought to be planning to approach Westminster council with its plans in the next few weeks.

Seb Berry, head of micro-renewables at the Renewable Energy Association, said the government had long promised to improve its green credentials. He said: "In principle, it's great. It now needs to have a productive discussion to decide which technologies to use and which part of the site it will put them on."

The news comes after Parliamentary Estates was slammed over its poor environmental record.

An environmental assessment of the House of Commons revealed:

  • Only 11% of the estate's electricity came from renewable power sources
  • Electricity consumption had nearly doubled since 1997 because of increased use of computers and photocopiers
  • Total electricity used in the last financial year available, 2002/03, was enough to supply more than 5000 households
  • Total electricity used that year created 10,062 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the amount produced by 1677 households.
  • The cost of heating the estate that year equated to £182 for every MP and peer.
The report criticised the estate for not making more use of on-site microgeneration from renewable sources, despite the fact that it exceeding the government target of 10%.

Meanwhile, ministers have announced a package of measures to boost biomass, a source of renewable energy. It includes a five-year capital grant scheme for biomass boilers, with £10-15m over the first two years and the establishment of a Biomass Energy centre to provide advice.