A huge 200-turbine wind farm off the coast of Colwyn Bay and Llandudno could be built following guidelines laid down by the Welsh Assembly.
The draft Renewable Energy Route Map for Wales was launched yesterday and includes a commitment to create more wind farms and tidal power sites.
Jane Davidson, Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing launched the plan, she said: “Wales is fortunate to have considerable natural renewable energy resources which if sensitively but extensively exploited could make Wales self sufficient in renewable electricity within 20 years – with half of this from marine, a third from wind and the rest from biomass and micro-generation.”
There is already a farm off Rhyl coast, the North Holye site, and work on a second Npower wind farm off the coast of Rhyl began in July. The 25-turbine Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm is expected to be completed by July 2009.
But the company has plans for a third site called Gwynt y Môr, at its nearest point just eight miles off-shore which now looks likely to go ahead following the Assembly plan.
If applications are successful construction will begin on the 30.5 square mile-site in 2010 and could feature turbines up to 540ft tall.
The amount of power generated by the site could power up to h
alf a million homes in Wales.
Ms Davidson said: “Our small country is already taking steps on the road towards a low carbon energy economy. Just as we led the world in energy development during the 19th century when our coal powered the industrial revolution, we have a great opportunity to lead the battle against climate change.”
The route map will also see changes being made to planning rules to make it easier for people to install wind turbines and solar panels on their homes and all new buildings are to be built with the highest possible low carbon standards.
Gordon James, Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: “Wind energy is the most advanced renewable energy technology that can make a difference now. We estimate that if all existing proposals for on-shore and off-shore wind were to be developed, it would generate over a quarter of Wales’ electricity demand by 2012.”
By Matt Jones
20 February 2008
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