npower renewables, the UK fully owned subsidiary of RWE Innogy, has today been granted consent by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to build and operate the 750 megawatt (MW) Gwynt y Môr wind farm off the coast of North Wales.
Paul Cowling, Managing Director of npower renewables, said: "We warmly welcome the announcement made today by Ed Miliband’s newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change. This is an important step towards realising this ambitious project. The decision underlines the Government’s commitment to massively expanding renewable energy generation in the UK to help tackle climate change and improve security of energy supply. We are equally dedicated to these aims, with RWE Innogy committed to spending around one billion euros across Europe on renewables every year until 2012.“
The wind farm, situated 13 kilometres out to sea, will be one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world and will be capable of generating enough power to supply the average annual needs of around half a million homes.
The wind farm design comprises an array of offshore wind turbines each with an installed capacity of between 3 to 5 MW. Depending on the tides, the wind turbines would stand in water depths of between 12 and 34 metres (m), requiring a hub height of up to 100 m and a rotor diameter of around 130 m. The individual wind turbines would be built between 350 m and 1000 m apart to ensure optimum wind exploitation. Currently, it is anticipated that offshore construction works could begin in 2011 with final commissioning in 2014.
Through it’s UK subsidiary npower renewables, RWE Innogy already operates the 60MW North Hoyle wind farm off the Welsh coast, the UK’s first major offshore wind farm. Its second offshore wind farm, Rhyl Flats, is now in construction off the coast of North Wales, and is expected to be operational in 2009 with a total installed capacity of 90 MW. Through npower renewables and in partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy, RWE Innogy is also involved in the construction of the 500 MW Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, which is located 25 kilometres off the coast of Suffolk. Construction of this project is scheduled to be completed in 2011, with first electricity generation due in 2010.