Plans have finally been approved for the repowering of a community-owned windfarm which will secure its future.
The Planning Inspectorate has ruled in favour of community co-operative Baywind Energy and their partners Infinergy by approving the repowering of Furness Wind Farm, at Harlock Hill, near Ulverston.
The windfarm was seeking planning permission to replace five existing turbines with five new, more powerful ones, which will almost quadruple the site’s electricity production.
David Eastlick, Baywind chairman, said: “This is such a relief. Our windfarm has a few years left in it but if it isn’t repowered it will spell the end of Baywind.
“After six years of going through planning we finally have the reassurance that our successful windfarm, which has been bringing benefits to the area for 17 years, will go on.
“This is excellent news for local investment, local jobs, the local community and an outright victory for community energy nationwide.”
The repowering was accepted by Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee last year, but South Lakeland District Council, the other local authority with a say in the decision, rejected the application in March 2013.
The wind turbines will be 99.5 metres high each and capable of producing 2.3MW of power.
Three of the turbines will be on Mean Moor and two will be on Harlock Hill.
A successful appeal was lodged to planning inspector, John Braithwaite.
His ruling also allows for the formation of on-site access tracks and carriageway widening.
Matt Russell, Infinergy’s senior project manager, said: “Furness Wind Farm will bring many tangible benefits to the local area.
“Apart from affordable investment opportunities through Baywind membership, Infinergy and Baywind have committed to a Community Benefit Fund to fund local projects.”
GlaxoSmithKline has also expressed an interest in sourcing green electricity from the windfarm for its Ulverston site, which would offset the factory’s carbon footprint by 25 per cent as well as improve its operating costs.
The next step for Baywind and Infinergy is to secure finance for the project.
Baywind will be raising funds through another share issue, which will have a reduced rate for households in postcode areas surrounding the windfarm.
They hope Furness Wind Farm will be operational in 2016.
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