EAST Lancashire’s biggest wind farm is set to double in size.
The developers behind Scout Moor in Rossendale – already the largest on-shore wind farm in England - want to double the number of 100m tall turbines there from 26 to 52.
Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd, a joint venture between United Utilities and the land’s co-owners, Peel Energy, said the scheme could eventually power up to 80,000 homes.
The expansion proposal comes as another firm, Coronation Power, confirmed it was exploring the possibility of building up to 17 turbines at nearby Rooley Moor.
Public consultation on that scheme, between Rossendale and Rochdale, will begin in Bacup and Whitworth next week.
Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd said its turbines would provide ‘a substantial boost to the finances of the local community’.
Jon England, from Peel Energy, said: “This exclusive collaboration between Peel Energy and United Utilities will see the delivery of a wind farm that will sustainably generate enough electricity for it to be considered of national importance, whilst at the same time protecting and improving the local environment.
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“These recent developments, and the consultation we have undertaken to date, have reaffirmed that the wind farm could be expanded if done in a way which is sensitive to the moorland and minimises disturbance to local residents.”
Peel Energy said it originally consulted residents on the principle of expanding the wind farm in December 2011, and that more detailed public consultation will take place in April.
Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd said it planned to launch a co-operative ownership scheme to give residents the opportunity to buy a stake in the wind farm themselves.
It will also make an annual pot of £250,000 available for community projects and good causes.
Addressing environmental concerns, Jonathan Hodgkin, of United Utilities, said: “An expansion to the wind farm provides an opportunity to improve areas of heavily degraded peat moor as well as to protect and enhance wildlife habitat areas and water quality sources on Scout Moor.”
Scout Moor’s current £50million Edenfield site, which opened in September 2008 following a planning inquiry, has the capacity to produce enough electricity for around 40,000 homes over 25 years via the National Grid.
Corporation Power said its Rooley Moor turbines would stand at 125m and could produce power for 21,559 homes.
In an information leaflet circulated to residents, the London-based company said: “As well as potential local employment during the construction phase, there could also be operational and maintenance jobs during the lifetime of the windfarm, drawing on the renewable expertise that is building in the area.”
Public exhibitions regarding Rooley Moor Wind Farm will take place at Whitworth Civic Hall in Market Street, Whitworth, from 2pm to 7pm on February 27, and at Futures Park off Newchurch Road, Bacup, from 10.30am to 4.30pm on February 28.