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United Kingdom

WALES FRUSTRATION

Renewable Energy Systems Limited (RES) is awaiting the outcome of three applications to build wind plants in Wales. The first, in mid Wales, is for 20 turbines at Mynydd Clogau, north of Newtown. The 10 MW project has a NFFO-3 power purchase contract, but the application is the third for a wind farm within a ten mile stretch of Montgomeryshire and might hit trouble. National Wind Power is building 56 machines at Carno and electricity utility MANWEB is awaiting a public inquiry into plans for 57 turbines at Mynydd yr Hendre.

Further north at Prysan on Anglesey, RES has plans for 20 more turbines. If Ynys Mon Borough Council grants the planning application, it would be the fourth wind farm to gain consent on the island. RES's third Welsh planning application is for Mynydd Islwyn in Gwent where it hopes to site its own prototype 1 MW turbine, a design it has been working on for some time.

In the south west of the country, RES suffered a disappointment when its wind farm plans for Corston, South Pembrokeshire were unanimously turned down by planners. The 16 turbines would have been located close to existing grid lines from the orimulsion-burning power station nearby and within an area preferred by Dyfed County Council for wind development. According to Simon Powles from RES, the company believed it had found an ideal site, " tucked in next to the oil refinery and the power station." But South Pembrokeshire District Council thought otherwise, turning the scheme down on the grounds of visual impact. Powles believes the local authority's decision owes too much to vociferous objections at the cost of a proper examination of the scheme's merits. Reflecting the frustration felt by many developers he comments: "Nowadays the populist option is to turn a wind farm application down." RES has no plans to appeal the decision.

Only a few weeks after the council's decison, the South Pembrokeshire coast was devastated by the effects of the Sea Empress oil tanker disaster -- little more than a stone's throw from RES's proposed site. Powles points out the irony of a local authority rejecting the option for a clean power plant, but now coping with the cost to its environment of man's over reliance on fossil fuels.

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