Welsh Water is installing a 79m wind turbine off Fabian Way in July to reduce its carbon footprint.
It will take shape at the Swansea Bay wastewater treatment works, and will be the second tallest structure in the city after the 107m Meridian Tower.
Welsh Water said it was always looking at ways of saving energy, or producing it from renewable sources like wind.
The not-for-profit utility was given permission for the turbine on appeal after Swansea Council turned it down.
A Welsh Water spokeswoman said the turbine would produce just over a quarter of the energy required to operate the treatment works.
“This equates to the annual demand from approximately 589 households,” she said. “Furthermore, the project will also benefit customers by reducing our overall operating costs so that we can keep bills low and as affordable as possible.”
John Thomas, the director of the 1940s Swansea Bay museum, on nearby Baldwin’s Crescent, said he did not know a turbine had even been planned, and hoped any disruption from construction would be minimal.
He also expressed reservations about what the visual impact would be from viewpoints along the bay.
“It is a bit of a surprise,” he added.
Businesses nearby declined to comment when approached by the Post.
Welsh Water had previously hoped to install a 104m turbine at the treatment works, but this was refused, prompting the utility to pitch the case for the 79m one. Council planning officers turned down the latter application, saying it would result in significant adverse landscape and visual impacts, while being “visually prominent” for drivers and cyclists on Fabian Way.
Concerns about the turbine were raised by, among others, Swansea University, which said there was the potential for vibrations to affect highly sensitive electron microscopes at the new Bay Campus nearby.
But Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector Hywel Wyn Jones overruled the council on appeal.
He said the turbine’s contribution to Welsh Government renewable energy targets would be significant, and that the structure would not cause significant harm to the landscape.
He added: “I have also found that the scheme would not cause unacceptable harm to the living conditions of local residents or the working environment in nearby commercial and educational premises.”
There is already a 43m wind turbine operating at Swansea Docks, and site owners Associated British Ports won an appeal to install a 77m one at Queens Dock last year.
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