A wind farm overlooking Bury could double in size, if plans are given the green light.
Peel Energy and United Utilities have announced a joint venture to expand Scout Moor Wind Farm and install an extra 26 wind turbines within the existing wind farm and in an area to the north of the site.
Consultations on expanding the wind farm originally took place in December, 2011, and now the areas of proposed expansion have been refined.
The wind farm originally opened in September, 2008, after a lengthy planning dispute and currently has 26 wind turbines.
It is located on open moorland between Edenfield, Rawtenstall and Rochdale and generates enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.
Local councils, including Bury, will be consulted on the plans but do not have the final say, with the application being sent to the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit for determination.
Peel and United Utilities say that, in its first two years of operation, the existing wind farm produced enough electricity to meet the demand of nearly half of the homes in Rochdale.
It is believed the application could be ready for submission by the end of the year, following a public consultation.
Jon England, development director at Peel Energy, said: “This collaboration between Peel Energy and United Utilities will see the delivery of a wind farm that will sustainably generate enough electricity for it to be considered of national importance, whilst at the same time protecting and improving the local environment.
“These recent developments, and the consultation we have undertaken to date, have reaffirmed that the wind farm could be expanded if done in a way which is sensitive to the moorland and minimises disturbance to local residents.”
If the expansion is approved, community benefit funds will be established for use by community groups and a co-operative ownership scheme will allow residents to buy a stake in the wind farm.
The plans put forward by Peel and United Utilities are not associated with the proposals for the neighbouring Rooley Moor wind farm, which is on the border of Bacup and Rochdale and is being developed by Coronation Power.
Jonathan Hodgkin, from United Utilities, added: “An expansion to the wind farm provides an opportunity to improve areas of heavily degraded peat moor as well as to protect and enhance wildlife habitat areas and water quality sources on Scout Moor.”
A public consultation will begin in April, with a number of public events set to be announced.