Commercial-scale wind farm opens on former Welsh coal mine
In a first for Wales, today marks the opening of a commercial-scale wind farm built in conjunction with a local authority.
Built on a former coal mine, the 4MW development comprises two 130m turbines that are expected to generate approximately 10GWh per annum – enough to power 2,400 homes and saving an estimated 4,400 tonnes of CO2 each year.
The turbines are located on a brownfield site, former home to the Oakdale Colliery and now part of Oakdale Business Park. The project was a collaboration between Caerphilly County Borough Council and Partnerships for Renewables, an oraganisation set up the Carbon Trust in 2007, specifically to “develop, construct and operate wind energy schemes primarily on public sector land.”
As part of the deal, not only will Partnerships for Renewables pay the council rent on the site, it will provide an index-linked community benefit package, providing £10,000 per year for the lifetime of the wind farm to fund projects that have a social, economic or environmental benefit.
The energy generated by the turbines will feed directly into the national grid, however operators are in ongoing discussions to provide a private wire direct to a nearby energy-intensive business, either on or off the business park.
The site will officially be opened today by the Welsh Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies. Partnerships for Renewables chief executive Stephen Ainger, said: “Onshore wind is not only the cheapest form of renewable energy but can deliver significant economic benefit to local communities, powering local industry and supporting jobs and investment. We hope that our Oakdale scheme will act as a beacon for other public/private partnerships, helping Wales to deliver its renewable energy ambitions.”
The Oakdale Business Park wind energy project is the second completed installation for Partnerships for Renewables, following the launch of a 4.6MW site at Standford Hill prison in Kent last year.