Two windfarm firms with developments off the Furness coast are cashing in on government subsidies of up to £250m a year.
Vattenfall and Dong Energy receive the highest annual subsidies from the government of any renewable energy firm.
Vattenfall, which has six windfarms in Britain, including the Ormonde windfarm off Walney, is set to receive £139m.
Meanwhile Dong, with four windfarms – two off Walney, will get £110m.
The subsidies, funded by add-ons to household electricity bills, are paid through the Renewables Obligation Certificate, an accreditation which places an obligation on energy suppliers to purchase a set percentage of the electricity they sell to customers from renewable sources.
Widespread outrage over the amounts paid to energy companies has led to calls for the government to slash subsidies and last week a group of 101 Tory backbenchers wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron demanding he cut the payments.
Some believe a percentage of the subsidies should be used to support local projects.
Last week the Department for Communities and Local Government also announced details of its Coastal Communities Fund, which has been created to provide struggling coastal communities across the country with money to support regeneration projects.
Stuart Klosinski, industrial development manager at Furness Enterprise, said: “Feedback that came out from a consultation by Dong Energy was that there should be a community fund.
“Some of the subsidies offered could be used for investment in local areas; an idea which, in principle, we would strongly support.”
David Marcus, a councillor on Barrow Borough Council and Cumbria County Council, agreed.
He said: “The subsidies are too high and I think the money should be used to support local communities. I’m not a great fan of windfarms…but I do think the subsidies should be used, in part, to support the local economy.”
Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “Government support for offshore wind turbines helps the UK meet its climate change obligations to future generations and sustains investment here in Furness.
“Barrow has a great opportunity to become a hub for high-tech wind energy jobs, but ministers need to do more to ensure the support put in place by the last Labour government creates a greater number of local job opportunities here.”
The government is said to be looking at subsidy cuts of between five and 10 per cent.
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