United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Planning consent for huge project

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The government has said yes to what will be the UK's largest wind farm. The north Wales Renewable Development Company (RDC) secured consent for 39, 1.5 MW wind turbines at Cefn Croes near Aberystwyth in Ceredigion. The result marks a significant step forward for wind energy in Wales. It is the first of several large Welsh proposals to emerge successfully from the current log jam in the planning system.

It is also the first wind farm of more than 10 MW to gain planning permission in England and Wales since 1997. Energy Minister Brian Wilson announced his consent at the opening of the 3.6 MW Parc Cynog plant of NEG Micon 720 kW turbines last month. Due to its size, Cefn Croes was consented by the Department of Trade and Industry, rather than by local planners.

"The launch of these wind farms should mark the start of a new period of expansion for wind energy in this country," said Wilson. "Once built, the 58.5 MW wind farm will supply nearly 50% of the electricity needs of Ceredigion and 1% of the needs of Wales. This development will put Wales right at the forefront of the renewables expansion."

RDC is to develop the wind farm jointly with Enron Wind, whose German turbine manufacturing arm is likely to be a front runner for supplying the turbines. Output from 39 MW of the project will be auctioned under a premium-priced Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) contract. According to RDC's Geraint Jewson, output from the remaining 20 MW will either be sold under the UK's new renewables obligation or sold subject to another NFFO contract.

Jewson expects to start work on constructing the wind farm by summer 2002, with commissioning in 2003.

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