Plans have been submitted to double the size of five wind turbines between Barrow and Ulverston.
Baywind at Harlock Hill became the country’s first ever community-owned windfarm when it was built in 1996 and subsequently bought by a consortium of 1,300 local residents.
Members of the community own shares of the five-turbine development plus another turbine at Haverigg. Energy is sold to the National Grid, bringing profit to members of the co-op in the form of an annual return.
But the development is past its sell-by-date and in a bid to boost the power generated by the turbines, Baywind wants to replace them with five new 2.3 megawatt turbines.
The new turbines would have a blade tip height of 99.5 metres – almost double the existing turbines’ 54 metre height.
To put the size into context, the new turbines would be almost twice the height of Barrow Town Hall or three times the height of the Hoad monument in Ulverston.
Baywind chairman David Eastlick said: “The Harlock Hill Wind Farm has, on average, produced enough green electricity each year to meet the demands of 1,080 homes, saving thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions.
“With the help of Infinergy, the repowering of the wind farm would quadruple these figures.”
The site is four kilometres to the north west of Ulverston and 10 kilometres north east of Barrow. Because the location is within both Barrow’s and Ulverston’s local authority boundaries, both councils would need to grant planning permission.
Mr Eastlick said: “At Baywind, we are proud to be seen as a successful flagship for community ownership and an inspiration to similar projects across the UK.
“Should the Furness Wind Farm application gain consent, our success will be considerably extended under this proposal.”
Construction of the new development, to be called Furness Wind Farm, could start in late 2012.
Two turbines would be located on the Harlock Hill side of the site, and operated by Baywind, and the other three would be on the Mean Moor part of the site and operated by Infinergy.
Detailed plans for the windfarm reveal construction of the development could temporarily impact on TV and radio signals, although according to the environmental statement, any long-term impact on reception would be negligible The document states: “Installation of the turbines would require a large crane and smaller crane.
“The exact cranes that will be used have not yet been confirmed. However, should a 1,000ft crane be required, it is possible that interference through blocking or reflecting signals may occur.”
The proposed development would have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 6,400 homes, more than four times greater than the existing turbines’ capacity.
Project manager for Infinergy, Matt Russell, said: “Infinergy are proud to be working with Baywind on the repowering of the UK’s first community owned windfarm.
“The Furness Wind Farm is an example of how business and the community can work together to achieve common goals.”
Jason Hipkiss, of Barrow Borough Council planning department, said around eight applications for small-scale turbines were being dealt with by the authority at the moment.
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