One of the companies planning to put up towering wind turbines in the sea off Barrow has decided to go for a more powerful model than originally planned.
Eclipse Energy, which is planning to develop the Ormonde hybrid wind and gas electricity generating site 9.5km off Walney, is to install five megawatt turbines instead of the original plan for 3.5 megawatt machines.
Thirty of the larger turbines will be installed on top of towers when the wind farm is built in 2010, producing enough power for 100,000 homes instead of the 70,000 under the original scheme.
The decision to go for larger turbines, which now has to be okayed by the government, will push the price of the scheme up from around £210m to nearly £300m, says Eclipse, which hopes to get bank support in place by the summer.
The company is planning to build offices and a maintenance depot in Barrow docks, but it has yet to decide whether the building operation will be run out of Barrow port or another port like Belfast.
Eclipse spokesman Peter Sill said: “It is the same number of turbines but it just means they will be producing more electricity.
“Larger turbines are more efficient. The newer technology has had two-and-a-half years’ research put into it since we made our initial application for 3.5 megawatts.”
Eclipse says it will be ensuring all its equipment is rugged enough for the offshore job.
It will also be learning lessons from the first sea wind farm, off Walney, which had to replace all its gearboxes after the first year at a cost of millions of pounds.
The 30 turbine towers will be around 330ft above the sea, with the height from sea surface to the tip of the highest turbine blade at 540ft.
There are plans for a total 350 turbines in four wind farms off Walney so far.
24 December 2007
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