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Major onshore wind farm proposed for Powys

Words: Martin Read
Onshore wind / Shutterstock

Plans for an onshore wind farm comprising up to 22 turbines have been announced by energy firm EDF Renewables (EDF R) for what would be a Development of National Significance in Wales.

In advance of lodging its full planning application at the end of this year, the firm has made a submission to the Welsh Government for an environmental scoping report and an application to Powys County Council to erect a wind speed data mast.

The firm has already carried out ecological and feasibility surveys.

The wind farm proposals, for a site at Garn Fach in the hills above Newtown, Powys, include having the farm run in partnership with 14 local farming families.

Each turbine, up to 150 metres high, would be designed to produce around 5MW, creating circa 110MW and providing “enough low-carbon electricity for the domestic needs of 66,000 households”, according to the firm.

EDF R has also announced plans to create an annual community benefit fund based on a percentage of the farm’s output, which it calculates will amount to £16.5 million over the 30-year lifetime of the project.

Local MP Craig Williams MP, responding to the announcement, said that more needed to be established, in particular “as to how the wind farm would connect to the National Grid. I believe that a grid connection application is still to be submitted and that there are currently no fixed plans as to how power would be transferred to the grid”.

Russell George AM, the local Welsh Government member, agreed. “As I understand it, there has been no agreement on the grid connection. Disappointingly, the wind farm application will be determined by the Welsh Government, rather than by Powys County Council and local communities. I passionately believe that important planning decisions should be made closest to the people they affect.”

The proposed site includes some of the land that formed part of the previous Llaithddu wind farm proposal, which was ultimately refused by the UK Government in 2015.

In a statement, EDF R couched its intended investment as coming at a time of growing concern about climate change and in the light of the Welsh Government’s target for Wales to have 70 per cent of its electricity consumption coming from renewables by 2030. The company also spoke of onshore wind being now “one of the cheapest ways of generating renewable or low carbon energy”.

Mark Vyvyan-Robinson, EDF R’s director of developments and investments, expressed hope “that the wind farm will be seen as an asset in the community in our fight to tackle climate change.”

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