A LARGE wind farm based off the coast of North Wales could be set to grow further after plans to add up to 107 new turbines were unveiled.

Gwynt y Môr is the fifth largest operating offshore windfarm in the world and produces enough electricity to supply approximately 400,000 households every year.

An application has now been submitted to Flintshire Council to kick start the planning process to increase the current total of 160 wind turbines, which were completed in 2015.

The existing infrastructure is spread over 28 square miles of the Irish Sea off the coast of Prestatyn, and is serviced from The Port of Mostyn in Flintshire.

Launched under the banner of “Awel y Môr OWF”, the new project would be located in the outer reaches of Liverpool Bay, covering an area of 41 square miles with a generating capacity of at least 100 megawatts

German owned energy company innogy, which is behind the scheme, said an electrical system would be built, including offshore substations, cables and an onshore connection to the National Grid.

Outlining the ambitious proposals, the company said it would provide a number of environmental benefits.

In a planning statement, representatives said: “The proposed extension project would provide a further significant contribution to Welsh Government’s energy targets which are for 70 per cent of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2030 and to be “net-zero” by 2050.

“The key drivers for renewable energy in the UK, and therefore the Awel y Môr OWF project, are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing increased energy security, and maximising economic opportunities for the UK and local economies.

“Extension projects, such as this, are considered to represent a significant opportunity for cost reduction in offshore wind through the benefits of existing infrastructure, technical expertise and experience on site; and existing datasets and environmental studies.

“This is an increasingly important driver under the highly competitive UK electricity market which aims to deliver the best possible value to the consumer.

“Early feasibility for Awel y Môr OWF is underway at the time of writing and therefore some project details are yet to be confirmed.”

It is anticipated that the connection to the National Grid would be at Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire.

Export cables would be installed underground between the shore and the grid connection point.

The company said several options were being explored for the cable route, with a decision yet to be made.

The documents show a number of underwater obstacles will need to be negotiated as part the development, including dozens of ship wrecks, the remains of planes shot down during World War II and even unexploded ammunition.

The firm added: “The possibility of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and munitions in the marine environment generally arises from a number of sources including German WWII air raids, wrecks of armed vessels sunk during conflict, WWII defensive sea minefields, military ranges and munitions dumping areas.

“Confirmed munitions have been encountered as part of construction of the Gwynt y Môr OWF, hence it is considered that there is potential for UXO to be encountered on the seabed in the Awel y Môr Study Area.”

The company said it would consider appropriate mitigation measures when constructing the wind farm.

The initial scoping report has been submitted to seek feedback from the relevant authorities, including the Planning Inspectorate and Natural Resources Wales.

It is expected that formal proposals will then be entered at a later date.