STANLEY, Falkland Islands, May 4 (UPI) -- The Falklands' main British military base will be run on wind power following successful experiments with wind-driven power generation in the capital, Stanley.
The Mount Pleasant base, now used mainly by the British air force, was at the center of the 1982 Falklands war when Argentine forces captured it and defied British bombing raids designed to disable the airstrip.
A British task force repelled the Argentine invasion but the conflict left 907 dead and did not end Argentina's sovereignty claims on the British overseas territory.
Located 40 miles southwest of Stanley on the East Falkland island, the base was expanded after the war to deter further Argentine incursions and is used also for training troops before transfer to Afghanistan.
The wind power solution for the base was put on the agenda after the government found huge savings on power generation in Stanley. Up to 26 percent of the capital's energy comes from wind turbines and the ratio is set to go up to 40 percent with the installation of additional turbines.
The base is used by up to 2,000 military personnel in peak time and recently has drawn more deployments from Britain, amid a tense standoff with Argentina after its renewed sovereignty claims over the archipelago.
The wind turbines planned for the base will be installed by the Falklands Public Service Department and the Ministry of Defense in London will be charged for the energy used, MercoPress reported.
Officials said increased use of wind energy will give Falklands a financial edge as that will reduce the costs of importing fuel.
Stanley Power Station Manager Glenn Ross said the project could finance the cost of electricity not provided by the existing Stanley wind farm. That would also benefit the base, with savings on fuel and help meet energy saving targets, he said. "I hate to use the expression but it is a win-win situation," said Ross.
"What I'm looking at, after our decision-making process, is something that will be a success, that we can be proud of, that will bring money into our treasury and eventually reduce the cost of energy for you and me," Ross said in a dispatch by Penguin News.
The Stanley Wind Farm saved the government more than $1 million in 2009 and is expected to continue making savings throughout the rest of its 20-year lifespan. The wind farm has been in operation for 2 1/2 years.
The wind power initiative has generated widespread interest as it coincides with the Falklands' prospecting for oil and gas in the northern basin. After disappointing initial reports on the drilling so far, more detailed findings of the oil exploration effort are expected during the summer.