Britain’s largest on-shore wind farm could double in size under new plans being explored by site bosses.
Peel Energy chiefs are looking at expanding Scout Moor wind farm, on the West Pennine Moors above Norden in Rochdale.
They are considering plans to put up more turbines among the 26 already at the site – or expanding to the north or east.
Jon England, development director at Peel Energy, said: “Early studies have shown that there is sufficient land available to more than double the output of the wind farm. Further technical studies are under way to inform discussions with statutory consultees, interest groups, and local communities.
“These discussions will allow us to better understand the potential issues related to extending the wind farm and prepare firm proposals for the development.”
Peel Energy will start formally preparing the scheme within the next eight weeks before beginning a consultation period.
Mr England added: “The existing wind farm has consistently generated large amounts of electricity. There is a proven high wind resource, there is existing access and grid connection, there is an opportunity to enhance security of electricity supply in Greater Manchester and the Rossendale Valley and there are significant benefits for the area.”
As the development is greater than 50 megawatts, an expansion would have to be considered by the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit.
Peel hope to submit a planning application within 18 months and anticipate a decision by autumn 2013. If approved they hope turbines would be operational by 2015.
Norden councillor Ann Metcalfe, who fought a long campaign against the original wind farm, believes the expansion is almost inevitable and working with Peel Energy might be the best approach this time.
She said: “Although I do not like the idea at all I think we need to work together. Last time when I started the campaign we knew they would probably get it.
“I am pretty certain the expansion will go ahead and we need to try and see if there is some way of the local community benefiting from it. It does appear this time that Peel are taking the idea of consultation to heart.”
Scout Moor wind farm opened in September 2008 after a lengthy planning dispute.
Each turbine is 300ft high weighing 251 tonnes.
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