Plans are being drawn up to double the size of a Cumbrian wind farm, making it the largest in the world.
The Walney offshore wind farm opened last year with 102 turbines planted in the Irish Sea, 14km from land.
The proposed extension by Danish energy giant Dong would double the size of the existing wind farm, and provide power for hundreds of thousands of homes.
Currently the London Array wind farm, in the Thames Estuary, is the largest across with globe with 175 turbines generating 630-megawatts.
But if the plans for the extension are approved the Cumbrian wind farm will regain the title it held when it was switched on in February 2012.
Wind farms have often proved controversial as sources of renewable energy, with the Duke of Edinburgh once describing them as “absolutely useless”.
A planning application is due to be submitted in May and, if accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, the 144sq km extension could be in operation by March 2018.
At a recent presentation to the local council the company’s representatives were pressed by members of the committee on any community benefits the extension will have.
Cliff Pullen, project manager for the wind farm, said the extension would provide an output of 750- megawatts, which could power up to 559,000 homes.
In response to a question from Councillor Anne Burns, Mr Pullen confirmed the extension would make the wind farm larger than any other in the world.
The committee heard 75 local people had been employed so far by Dong and £1m a month is contributed into the local economy.
Mr Pullen said the company is keen to invest in a community benefits programme as part of the expansion, however faced criticism given that only £15,000 has been contributed in such projects so far.
Councillor Ray Guselli said: “If the average donation should be around £100 per megawatt, we would perhaps have been expecting a donation of £560,000 from you. To put it bluntly, are we a soft touch?”
Mr Pullen said he would report back to the company for the committee’s requests for more to be put back into the community, but said the economic impact of having the windfarm is far larger than the £15,000 sum.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding