The first commercial-scale wind energy scheme to be delivered in conjunction with a Welsh local authority was officially launched on 5 June by the Welsh Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies.
Located on a brownfield site that was formerly a coal mine, the 4 MW development is a collaboration between developer Partnerships for Renewables and Caerphilly County Borough Council. The project is the first of its kind in Wales.
Two turbines will generate approximately 10 GWh per year, which is equivalent to the annual energy usage of around 2,400 average homes.
Alun Davies, said: “Wales is very fortunate to be rich in energy resource. I am determined that we will work innovatively and collaboratively to maximise the long term economic benefits of that resource to Wales and to deliver my ambitions around green growth.”
“The project that I am visiting today shows exactly what can be achieved through positive partnership working and is also an excellent example of how local communities can directly benefit from renewable energy projects.”
The development is on reclaimed land on Oakdale Business Park in Caerphilly, South Wales. The 400-acre site was formerly the location of Oakdale Colliery, which in its heyday employed almost 2,000 people. After 81 years in operation, and a declining coal industry in Wales, the colliery closed in 1989. When fully occupied, the new business park is expected to deliver 5,000 jobs into the local economy to the tune of £100 million per year.
In addition to the rent paid to the council for use of the site, Partnerships for Renewables will provide a community benefit package of £10,000 per year, index-linked for the lifetime of the wind farm, to fund projects that will have a social, economic or environmental benefit.
The energy produced by the turbines is currently being fed directly into the National Grid, but discussions are ongoing regarding the possibility of installing a private wire to neighbouring large energy users, either in the existing business park or businesses newly locating to the area.
The two 130m high turbines at Oakdale are the first commercial installation of the new Senvion MM100 turbines in Europe. This model is the latest in the Senvion MM series, which is characterised by its versatility and low sound power level. With 50m blades these will be amongst the largest wind turbines operating in Wales.
The Oakdale Business Park wind energy project is the second completed installation for Partnerships for Renewables, following the launch of a 4.6 MW site at Standford Hill prison in Kent last year. The developer aims to install up to 500 MW of onshore wind energy across the UK, largely on unexploited public sector land.