Huge Onshore Wind Farm Given Go-Ahead

on Jun 4, 2012
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Recently, BusinessGreen reported that the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had approved the Pen Y Cymoedd project of the Swedish energy company Vattenfall, which is expected to become the largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales. The project will give a major boost to the UK wind energy sector and in addition, the DECC expects that the project will provide significant benefits to the local community.

The 299 MW Vattenfall wind farm, which will be located between the towns of Neath and Aberdare in Wales, will have the highest generating capacity of any onshore wind farm in both Wales and England. It will consist of 76 turbines and according to the DECC the developer has predicted that the facility is going to generate enough electricity as to power the equivalent of up to 206,000 homes a year.

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BusinessGreen also reports that Vattenfall expects the project will require an investment of approximately £300 million; however, it will also drive up to £1 billion into the Welsh economy and in addition, is likely to create more than 300 jobs. The estimated time for construction is three years and since the Swedish company has signalled that it could start with construction next year, the first energy from the site will potentially come online from 2016.

As noted by the DECC, the project developer has also promised to deliver a community benefits package potentially worth more than £55 million over the lifetime of the development. The benefits in question include £3 million for habitat management as well as £6,000 a year per megawatt to a Community Trust Fund. In addition, concerns about the wind farm’s impact on local mining activities have been adequately addressed in the planning consent, with the developer being required to ensure the future coal extraction from beneath the site.!m[](/uploads/story/41/thumbs/turbine_inline.png)

The approval of the Pen Y Cymoedd project will boost the onshore wind energy sector in the UK and is likely to be welcomed by the wind energy industry. BusinessGreen reports that the DECC and the trade professional body RenewableUK recently published a report indicating that in 2011, onshore wind farms contributed over £500 million to the UK economy and supported almost 9,000 jobs. The report also estimates that if the technology is deployed to a 13GW scale, as envisaged in the UK government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap, the total onshore wind energy market could be worth £780 million by 2020 and support approximately 11,600 jobs.

In addition, the UK is also planning to explore the possibility of building an interconnector with Denmark which, if built, can potentially help both countries manage their renewable energy flow more efficiently, particularly with regards to their respective wind energy capacities.
Yet, despite the generally positive outlook in the UK’s onshore wind energy sector, as noted in the BusinessGreen article, the final decision of the Swedish energy company whether to further proceed with the investment in the Welsh wind energy facility will be determined also by the UK government’s progress on the highly anticipated electricity market reform.

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