Britain's first commercial wind farm is to be upgraded to raise £30,000 a year for eco causes.

As the 27-year-old turbine at Longley Farm, Hade Edge, reaches the end of its life, Longley Farm and partners Holmfirth Transition Town (HoTT), are hoping to replace it with a model which will generate more than double the amount of power.

And Longley Farm and HoTT plan to offer shares in a community project which could generate £30,000 a year for social and environmental projects around Holme Valley.

It is hoped the new turbine will raise cash by pumping electricity back into the national grid.

The current 32.5m turbine generates 90kW, while the proposed 46m turbine will generate 200kW – enough to power 190 households a year.

If planning permission is granted by Kirklees Council the installation work will be tendered to bidders.

A report prepared for Longley Farm, by Huddersfield-based The Energy Workshop, says: “This proposal for a replacement turbine is equally pioneering as it is a genuine partnership between the Longley Farm dairy and a local community group (HoTT), offering the opportunity for local people to take a share in and benefit from the opportunities that the upgraded turbine will present.

“The Longley Farm turbine will facilitate a wide range of benefits to the local community.

“The fund is expected to be in the range of £10,000 to £30,000 per year, depending on turbine performance, level of reserves required and the amount of withdrawals from the project by community investors.

“This compares with the current Environment Grant budget for the whole of Kirklees of £61,000.

“Local residents will be fully involved in deciding how the money will be used.”

Longley Farm hit the headlines in November 1986 when it installed Britain’s first commercial turbine.

The turbine was put up to provide a reliable energy source following the miners’ strikes of the 1980s and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986.

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