'Highest generating' onshore wind farm gets consent
Consent was granted today for what's claimed will become the 'highest generating capacity' onshore wind farm anywhere in England and Wales.
Consisting of 76 turbines and scheduled to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of up to 206,000 homes a year, the newly approved farm is the Pen Y Cymoedd 299MW development, located between Neath and Aberdare in South Wales.
"Onshore wind plays an important role in enhancing our energy security," said Energy Minister Charles Hendry, after granting consent to the developer, Vattenfall. "It is the cheapest form of renewable energy and reduces our reliance on foreign fuel."
The Minister added that the project would generate vast amounts of home-grown renewable electricity and provide a significant benefits package for the local community.
This was a reference to the developer's pledge to fund a community benefits package potentially worth more than £55m over the lifetime of the development. This includes £3m for habitat management and £6,000 a year per megawatt to be paid into a Community Trust Fund.
Neither of the relevant local authorities objected to the wind farm, according to the Minister's statement. This was subject to conditions covering such issues as construction, noise, archaeology, habitat management and hydrology, being included in any planning permission granted.
In response to concerns about possible effects on mining, however, conditions have been included to safeguard the future extraction of coal from under the wind farm site.