British renewable energy company Good Energy says new proposals for the Big Field Wind Farm could make the Cornwall project funded completely by income from the electricity it generates – which would make it the first wind farm in the U.K. to operate without a government subsidy, according to the company.
Shortly after the May 2015 general election, the U.K. government announced it would end subsidies for onshore wind farms from April 2016, a year earlier than previously proposed, explains Good Energy.
The government also introduced new planning rules to ensure wind proposals would get the go-ahead only if they had the clear backing of the local community.
Following a review of the proposals it first put before local planners in 2014, Good Energy has now unveiled a revised design for the Big Field Wind Farm in which its energy output could be boosted by up to 50% without increasing the maximum height of the turbines.
As a result, the company says, the 11-turbine wind farm could generate enough power for more than 22,000 homes and pay back the costs of development and construction without the need for subsidy.
Alongside the new project design, Good Energy has announced proposals to enable the wind farm to become majority-owned by a range of local investors. These could include local residents, community groups and other local organizations.
“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,” says Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder of Good Energy.
Bill Andrews, one of local residents living closest to the wind farm site, adds, “This is a very welcome development. A lot of my neighbors already support this wind farm, and giving local people the chance to invest in the project would mean the community will see even more of the benefit.”
Good Energy’s original proposal was for 11 turbines with a maximum tip height of 125 meters and a total installed capacity of between 22 MW and 27.5 MW.
The new design features the same number of turbines with the same maximum tip height but longer blades and a lower hub height – potentially increasing the total installed capacity of the wind farm to 38.5 MW.