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Huge new offshore wind farm ‘could power a third of Welsh homes’

01 Aug 2022 4 minute read
Tamsyn Rowe, Project Manager for Awel y Môr,

A huge new offshore wind farm could power over a third of Welsh homes with renewable energy, those behind the project have claimed.

The wind farm, which is still in its planning phase but is set to include up to 50 turbines, could supply energy to around 500,000 of the Wales’ 1.38 million households.

If built, Awel y Mor could help tackle climate change and minimise the UK’s reliance on imported energy, German-owned energy company RWE Renewables has said.

It could also cut energy costs and help the Welsh Government reach their 70% renewable energy target by 2030.

But critics of the scheme say the turbines, which would stand just over 10km off the north Wales coast, would harm marine life and affect tourism by spoiling the views from Snowdonia, other beauty spots and conservation areas.

Speaking from Gwynt y Mor wind farm, located in the Irish Sea, Tamsyn Rowe, RWE project lead, said: “Awel y Mor would be a fantastic opportunity for Wales. It would bring significant benefits in terms of helping the Welsh Government meet their renewable energy targets of 70% by 2030.

“It would also bring lots of skills and supply chain opportunities and jobs to the region.

“If it’s approved, as the project is in an early stage at the moment, it could power up to 500,000 homes with green, clean, renewable energy.

“Climate change is real, it’s happening now and we do need to be acting urgently,” she added.

“Projects like Awel y Mor could help us de-carbonise society and protect it for future generations.

“They also have the benefit of helping the UK’s security of supply, which is a really important issue at the moment, and help us reduce our reliance on imports whilst also reducing the cost of energy to the consumer.”

Visual landscape

Awel y Mor would be situated to the west of the existing Gwynt y Mor wind farm and create 1100MW of energy with its grid connection planned to reach the shoreline between Rhyl and Prestatyn.

Ms Rowe said the company had spent three years preparing surveys on sea bed ecology, and on the bird population due to the proposed turbines being larger and having a maximum tip height of 332m.

RWE reduced the number of turbines to address concerns over the visual landscape raised during a public consultation last autumn.

In May, the proposals were accepted for consideration by the UK Planning Inspectorate.

Members of the public will be able to submit their thoughts on the project to the planning body from next month.

The final decision on consent will rest with the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with a decision anticipated in 2023.

The project lies in Welsh waters and therefore a Marine Licence must also be granted by the Welsh Government through Natural Resources Wales whose consultation ends on August 18.

One million homes

If permission was granted, Awel y Mor and Gwynt y Mor combined would have the capacity to power the equivalent of more than one million Welsh homes.

RWE is already the largest provider of renewable energy in Wales and it is now looking at building floating wind farms off the south coast of Wales.

Ms Rowe said: “Floating wind opens up whole new geographical areas around the coastline of the United Kingdom and Wales where we can deploy turbines in deeper water.

“The Crown Estate has recently announced a leasing round for around four gigawatts of floating turbines in the Celtic Sea, so off the south coast of Wales.

“RWE are seeking to develop at least one gigawatt of commercial scale floating in that area.”

RWE has already began working with ports in South Wales to help them get ready for the floating turbine industry.

Last month the company struck up a partnership with Tata Steel to explore how components for the high-tech floating wind turbines might be produced by the Port Talbot steelworks.


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
4 months ago

It’s what is needed so let’s get it sorted. Westminster’s inaction and corruption have put the entire archipelago at risk from energy insecurity when we have huge natural resources that are renewable. They want to “invest” (meaning pass money between rich people) in “mini-fusion reactors”, an ENTIRELY experimental technology (in terms of its scale) that will end up producing waste we can never safely be rid of (no, sealing it up in barrels and then burying them is NOT a good plan) and force huge reactors on the coast of Cymru, forgetting that the sea levels are rising (faster than… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Less of the bye bye Barmouth it’s really called Abermaw right! and it’s not going anywhere, they will just have to raise the prom, you’re supposed to pick on Fairbourne. Don’t come round here writing off my county’s towns just like that…now if Harlech School and the Golf Course went under so be it and that housing estate they built in the sixties, where Meic Stevens used to live when he was Warden of Coleg Harlech, had to go, only the people who live there would care…and another thing how come some solicitor living in Greece owns the name Coleg… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Mab Meirion
The Original Mark
The Original Mark
4 months ago

What a shame it’s a German owned company, I’m sure the German shareholders will be very pleased with all the £££££’s being taken out of the Welsh/UK economy?

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
4 months ago

COULD power Welsh homes or WOULD power Welsh homes. If we get the turbines, we get the power. We are not England’s battery.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
4 months ago

Afraid that is the big idea. Scotland and Wales will power England

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
4 months ago

Bit confused about this since Wales already exports one third of the electricity it produces. Wales doesn’t need this, England does.

Tony Ventenergie
Tony Ventenergie
4 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Reading the article would clear up your confusion completely.

“Wales has a target of 70% of energy to come from renewables.”

At present Wales generates 76% of its energy from fossil fuels.

Well RWE and EON do it in Wales as part of the UK and also to provide surplus to Ireland.

Don’t worry about England. It has a s***load more coast than Wales and renewable energy trading lines with Norway and Sweden.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
4 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Pembroke power station, the largest gas fired station in Europe, is what generates most, and can’t keep burning gas beyond 2035

defaid
defaid
4 months ago

I’m very much in favour of offshore generation, despite it being the most expensive renewable source according to Wikipedia. Still cheaper than conventional sources though, and comparable with nuclear generation… The argument that such a development would damage tourism is entirely spurious: if the turbines aren’t offshore then they’ll be *in* Snowdonia. In any case, the textures and lines of a wind turbine look maritime to me and the offshore installations I’ve seen look far less incongruous than the hilltop industrial estates. In terms of ecological impact, I doubt there’s much difference. I think the suggestion that 1100 MW will… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  defaid

Replace the chimney with a wind turbine, I wrote that over twenty years ago…you might remember the fuss in the Meifod Valley 20 years ago over windmills…

defaid
defaid
4 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Twenty years ago you were 40 years ahead of your time.

Powys Paradwys Lloegr where 45% of the electorate moved into the area — and into the county council — and now refuse to allow the county into the 21st century for fear that PV cells or turbines in a conservation area (fatuous naming indeed) will ruin the allure of the second home they just bought and turned into an Air B’n’B with the blessing of their pals in PCC.

They still insist, though, that everyone else must switch to green energy…

Call me bitter, but…

Last edited 4 months ago by defaid
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  defaid

I left North Powys twenty years ago and I haven’t really been back, I miss my many friends but I don’t think I’d like it these days, as for councils they are often the Thursday night club in mufti and therefore work on an open door to the right person basis the length and breadth of this country. It seems to me that being Linked-In by all means is the mafia of the present… The exodus to my part of the world began shortly after the end of the war, people keen to leave the destruction and sadness of 6… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Mab Meirion
Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
4 months ago
Reply to  defaid

You can’t site wind turbines in National Parks, so Snowdonia is safe

Wikipedia is very out of date. The latest CfD auction puts offshore wind as cheaper than onshore wind or solar at £37/MWh, about a third the cost of nuclear, if not a quarter. Hence it will be the U.K.’s largest source of power come 2050

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
4 months ago

Any thing that is done
In Wales is mostly for the benefit of England and the Queen of England

Brian Clement
Brian Clement
4 months ago

Smoke and mirrors, as per usual. It is always the “number of Welsh homes” argument. Nonsense! There is a national grid out of which energy flows across borders at variable costs. The real beneficiaries will be RWE Renewables and the UK Government, not the people of Wales. Let us hope Welsh Government don’t fall for this.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
4 months ago
Reply to  Brian Clement

Welsh Government play no part in the decision making. Offshore wind is decided by Westminster

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
4 months ago

Wales can get to net zero using only offshore wind, so let’s get on with it. We don’t need onshore wind on hilltops or solar in farmers fields or anything else. A few tidal lagoons would help balance things

Dafydd Jones
Dafydd Jones
4 months ago

Fantastic! Cheap clean home-grown energy just what we need at the moment. This will result in cheaper energy bills for everyone. Da iawn

Clive Ward
Clive Ward
4 months ago

Wind farms in the open ocean represent the epitome of idiocy.Underwater turbines attached to the towers would be powered by the tidal flow for nearly twenty four hours a day.Of course, then there would be no use for the windmills. Added to the rebirth of all the former water mills in Wales, we would be self-sufficient , and very climate-friendly.

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