The Welsh economy and its green energy sector are in line for a major boost as the UK Government gave the green light today to Vattenfall’s flagship onshore wind scheme in Wales.
The 76 turbine Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project was granted development consent by Charles Hendry MP, the Energy Minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It is estimated that capital expenditure required to construct the wind farm will be around £300 million. With three years of construction followed by 25 years of operation the scheme could pump £1bn into Wales’ economy. This could lead to the retention or creation of more than 300 jobs in Wales.
The decision also represents a boost to Wales’ green energy ambitions as once operational Pen y Cymoedd would increase Welsh renewable electricity generation by a massive 37%.
Once a final investment decision has been taken by Vattenfall, construction could commence on the approximately 250 megawatt (MW) scheme as early as next year with expected first power generated in 2016. The wind farm is located on publicly owned land managed by Forestry Commission Wales in the south of the country.
Piers Guy, Vattenfall’s Head of Onshore Wind Development in the UK, said: “We are delighted that Vattenfall’s Welsh flagship project has been consented. Pen y Cymoedd is a major project that could be worth more than £1bn to Wales. We have consistently stated our commitment to making sure that we maximise the value of Pen y Cymoedd to the region and to Wales. This is now our priority.”
Mr Guy continued: “This project shows what onshore wind energy investments can offer Wales over the short and long term. Through this project we will be supporting the delivery of national and local priorities – from creating local jobs, supply chain opportunities and apprenticeship schemes to supporting tourism initiatives, community services and facilities. Our 25 year investment makes us one of the most significant community investors in Wales.
He added: “The project will see Vattenfall investing in a £3 million local habitat restoration project and a community fund that will provide guaranteed funding support for regeneration of more than £55million over the next 25 years.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the very many organisations, groups and individuals who have helped to shape this project to make our shared vision a reality.”
Forestry Commission Wales Wind Energy Programme Executive Derek Stephen said: “We are pleased to have worked with Vattenfall in reaching this milestone and look forward to our continued relationship in bringing renewable energy to Wales.”
Commenting on the decision, Katie-jo Luxton, Director RSPB Cymru said: “RSPB Cymru welcomes the positive approach Vattenfall has taken to nature conservation through the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm – an approach which will result in a net gain for wildlife in this area. We hope that other companies will adopt a similar attitude and that that this project will set the gold standard for wind farm developments in Wales and, indeed, elsewhere”.
Vattenfall will now review the letter of consent in detail before committing to a forward programme for the proposal.
Notes to the editors
Vattenfall is a leading European energy company and is Europe's sixth largest generator of electricity and the continent's largest producer of heat. Vattenfall currently operates 545MW of onshore wind capacity and 836MW of offshore wind across northern Europe, including the UK's Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, until recently the world's largest operating offshore wind farm.
Vattenfall, following the integration of Nuon Renewables earlier this year, is now one of the UK’s leading wind farm developers.
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