Planning permission granted for England's largest onshore wind farm
Plans to expand Scout Moor onshore wind farm in Lancashire have been given the green light by the local council.
Developers Peel Energy and United Utilities want to add a further 16 turbines to the 25 existing turbines; effectively bringing the total capacity of Scout Moor to 101.8MW - making it England’s largest wind farm, ahead of SSE’s 68MW Keadby project in Lincolnshire.
Scout Moor first opened in 2008, with 65MW of capacity providing enough electricity for 40,000 homes. The expansion would see the wind farm generate power for an additional 22,500 homes and bring in more than £11m to the local economy.
Rossendale Council’s development control committee has this week awarded planning permission for 14 of the 16 new turbines, but the decion about the final two actually sits within the boundary of Rochdale Metropolitan Council, which is still considering the application. The approved plans will now be sent to central Government which will then decide on whether to "call-in" the decision or not.
The largest onshore wind farm currently active in England is Keadby in Lincolnshire, which has 34 turbines supplying 2MW each. The UK's largest is Whitlee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor, south of Glasgow in Scotland, with 140 turbines and an installed capacity of 322MW.
A report last week from centre-right think-tank Policy Exchange claimed that onshore wind could be price competitive with new gas by 2020 with the right support. However, the Conservative Government has thus far shown no inclination to provide that support. In June, DECC announced plans to end new subsidies for onshore wind from the start of 2016 – a move expected to stop the construction of around 250 planned wind farms and 2,500 turbines.
Onshore wind is regarded as the cheapest form of renewable energy globally, producing power at just over $100/MWh on average.