Britain’s first subsidy-free wind farm planned for Cornwall

A community-owned wind farm that can run without financial aid or Government subsidies looks set to become a reality after UK-based green energy firm Good Energy submitted proposals for a new site in Cornwall.

Good Energy has submitted proposals to the Planning Inspectorate for the 38.5MW, 11-turbine ‘Big Field Wind Farm’ near Bude in Cornwall. The firm is opening up funding options which could see local investors and residents take a majority share in the project.

Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: “This is a bold and innovative response to the challenges laid down by Government to the renewables industry since the election last year. This project will give local people the chance to show their support for renewable energy, and all the benefits it brings both locally and globally, by investing in their own wind farm.

“The benefits of the Big Field Wind Farm are too great for it not to go ahead just because subsidies are being withdrawn. Being community-owned will ensure that the economic benefit of the wind farm can be retained locally and re-invested in Cornwall.”

Good Energy originally put proposals for the site before planners in 2014, but due to the lack of enabling policies coming out from Government, the firm has since revamped its plans. The revised design will see the site boost its energy output by up to 50% without increasing the maximum 125m height of the turbines.

The revised plans also lays out how the wind farm could be funded solely by the income from the electricity it generates, which is expected to power more than 22,000 homes.

Common unity

In a move roundly condemned by the renewables industry, the Government ended new subsidies for onshore wind farms a year earlier than previously expected, with Energy Secretary Amber Rudd citing consumer bills protection as a valid reason.

Rudd confirmed that new onshore projects could still be built in the UK, but would only operate on a zero-subsidy basis. This has led to widespread agreement that renewable deployment has continuously been ‘tripped at the last hurdle’ by Government.

A poll last September revealed that more than three quarters of UK households would support renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and solar farms if the profits generated benefitted the local community.

Matt Mace

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