Wales’s plan to become the UK’s renewable energy leader has moved closer to reality with the granting of permission for a wind farm of its north coast.
The 750MW Gwynt y Môr wind farm, when finished in 2014, will be the second largest in the world.
The farm, to be built by the energy company nPower Renewables, will be eight miles off the coast of north Wales and, at maximum capacity,
will be capable of generating enough power for the annual needs of more than 700,000 homes; it will be second only to the proposed 1GW London Array wind farm.
In February the Welsh assembly’s environment and energy minister, Jane Davidson, announced a target to source all of Wales’ electricity from clean sources by 2025. More than 30 per cent of the carbon emissions from Wales come from electricity generation and the Welsh government said it wanted at least 1GW each of onshore and offshore wind farms (possibly rising to 2GW of onshore wind) as well as biomass plants.
Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, said the North Wales coast could become a powerhouse for renewable energy. “The UK must clean up its energy supply to fight the damaging effects of climate change and more wind power will help us do this. The UK is leading the world in offshore wind, and the developments off the coast of North Wales will help keep us frontrunners.”
In October the UK overtook Denmark as the world’s leader in generating power from offshore wind farms. Energy company Centrica’s completion of the 194MW wind farm off the coast at Skegness, Lincolnshire, brought the UK’s total built offshore capacity to 590MW, compared with Denmark’s 423MW.
A spokesman for the British Wind Energy Association said Gwynt y Môr brought the total offshore wind projects in planning stages to 4.5GW. “It will also set us well on our way towards reaching our 2020 renewable energy targets. The offshore sector remains vibrant.”