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Massive wind farm expansion outlined  

A surge of huge offshore wind farms, like the one planned west of Gower, is in the pipeline.The plans have won support from Swansea eco-campaigners.

The Government wants the new wind farms to generate clean electricity for our homes.

Up to 7,000 turbines could be installed around the UK’s coastline in a bid to boost wind energy 60-fold by 2020.

Farm Energy, the company behind plans for Atlantic Array, a 350sq km wind farm which would be visible from west Gower, welcomed the development.

Other people say it’s a waste of time and money.

Farm Energy director Peter Crone said: “We are waiting to hear details from the Government – but it improves the chances of getting this project going.”

Atlantic Array would comprise 350 turbines, nearly 500ft high. Mr Crone said he hoped it would start producing electricity in early 2014.

But all the electricity would flow to homes in the South West of England.

That’s because National Grid has no spare capacity in South Wales.

Keith Ross, of the Swansea Green Party, said a big expansion in renewable energy production was vital to prevent the lights possibly going out.

“Within the next decade we will have an energy gap as nuclear and coal-powered stations are phased out,” he said.

“We are very pleased to see the Government at last making a substantial move in the direction of renewable energy.”

But he added that each project should be decided on its merits.

He said the benefit of building offshore wind farms all around the UK was that the wind was always blowing somewhere.

The electricity generated, though, might be more expensive than it is now.

“But unless we act quickly, we’re going to come to a situation where we either have expensive energy or no energy,” he said.

Critics point to a Government watchdog report which concludes the more electricity you generate from wind, the harder it becomes to reduce reliance on back-up electricity from traditional fossil fuel-burning sources.

This strange consequence is all down to the fact that you cannout guarantee when and where the wind will blow.

Jack Harris, of Uplands, who worked 27 years in the electricity supply industry, said tidal lagoons were a much better idea than wind farms because tides were predictable.

That means you know exactly when the electricity is going to be generated.

He added: “Wind power is the most expensive way to produce electricity.

“Without subsidies it wouldn’t exist. I think it’s a waste of space.”

By Richard Youle

South Wales Evening Post

12 December 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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