Energy firm RWE npower renewables (RWE NRL) have submitted new plans to the City and County of Swansea council for a wind farm at Mynydd y Gwair , situated approximately nine miles to the North of north of Swansea.
The planning application proposes the installation of 16 turbines with a capacity of up to 48 megawatts (MW), which could potentially produce enough renewable electricity to meet the average annual electricity consumption of approximately 24,700 homes1.
The application follows a previous planning application submission in 2008 for a larger 19 turbine scheme which was considered at public inquiry. While rejecting the initial application, the subsequent Welsh Government Ministerial decision, based on the planning inspectors findings, highlighted areas where amendments to the project could make the application more acceptable.
Gwenllian Elias, Project Developer at RWE NRL said: “All the way through the design and public engagement process for Mynydd y Gwair, we have gone to great lengths to listen to and act on the feedback we’ve had from all parties and as a consequence we’ve made changes to the original application. Three of the turbines have been removed from the design in direct response to concerns over an area of peat, together with some minor realignment of access track.
“As part of the considerations for Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm development, RWE NRL have also carried out an economic study into the potential value of the project to the local economy. The study2 by economic development consultancy Regeneris, estimates that the construction of the wind farm could potentially generate up to £12 million in Wales, with £8.5 million of this being invested in South and West Wales.”
The RWE NRL community investment fund will also deliver a range of community and environmental improvements to help ensure tangible, long-term benefits result from the company’s presence in the area. The fund is based on a payment of £5,000 per MW per year. Based on an installed capacity of up to 48MW, this could deliver a fund of up to £240,000 per year throughout the operational life of the wind farm.
Miss Elias continues: “RWE NRL has a long-term commitment to Swansea and the surrounding area. Subject to gaining consent for the Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm, RWE NRL would offer a community investment package that would be delivered annually to create a valuable, long term and reliable source of income for the local community.
“We would hope to support a range of projects with this fund including groups and events relating to sport, education and local tourism. We welcome further enquiries from community groups and organisations who would like to discuss opportunities for RWE NRL to get involved with their projects.”
Following submission of the proposals, the City and County of Swansea Council will register the application and provide a planning reference number. It will also conduct a consultation exercise, inviting the public to comment on the proposals. More information about the consultation process will be advertised locally by the local authority.
The full suite of documents forming the application will be available to view at the City and County of Swansea Council Planning Department, Civic centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3SN.