Onshore wind farms: Simon Hart on future of renewable energy
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Clocaenog Forest — located near Denbigh on the Welsh Ministers’ woodland estate, some 18 miles from Wrexham — is the largest onshore wind farm in RWE’s UK fleet, at 96 MW. The farm, which cost £118million overall, boasts 27 individual turbines and is capable of producing enough renewable electricity to power 63,800 UK homes. The wind farm was completed in 2020 following 18 months of construction, however, the coronavirus pandemic had prevented its formal inauguration until now.
Ms James — who was joined for the event by local dignitaries, business leaders and representatives from Natural Resources Wales — said: “It was my pleasure to officially open RWE’s Clocaenog Forest onshore wind farm.
“Onshore wind already accounts for 39 percent of our renewable electricity generation in Wales but we have big ambitions in this sector.
“We have the vision for Wales to become net exporters of renewable energy in a way that supports the economy and retains value in Wales.
“We want to regenerate the industry so that we bring benefits to our communities and create skilled jobs.”
Ms James continued: “We have already made great strides in making net zero a reality in Wales.
“We want an electricity network which is smarter, greener and capable of supporting a low carbon future, which meets the future needs of our communities and people.”
It is important, the minister added, that the grid provides the best long-term value for Wales.
She concluded: “RWE are a large and important developer in Wales, we look to them to set a high standard among the developer community and are excited to see the difference they can make to the future of renewable energy in Wales.”
RWE UK Country Chair Tom Glover said: “Celebrating the opening of an onshore wind farm of this scale is truly inspiring.
“RWE is the largest renewable generator in Wales with a long and proud history of pioneering wind power in the country.
“Having invested well over £3billion in Welsh energy projects over the last decade, we are committed to further green growth and to being a key partner in delivering Welsh Government aims of meeting the country’s electricity needs with renewable energy by 2035.
“Clocaenog will make a significant contribution to this aspiration, while also establishing a positive and enduring legacy for the local community.”
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The development and operation of the wind farm has already been a boon to the local area.
Construction of Clocaenog Forest — which was led by Jones Brothers Civil Engineering UK, a local firm, through a £20million contract — provided work for 60 engineers and 14 apprentices and trainees.
On completion of the wind farm, the project began delivering a £768,000 annual community investment fund into the local area.
To date, the fund has invested a total of £1,181,000 into 96 different grants — helping to safeguard 62 jobs and create 24 more in the process.
The fund is independently administered by Community and Voluntary Support Conwy.
Fund manager Esyllt Adair said: “We are looking forward to seeing the positive longer-term impacts this community fund will have for the local economy.”
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