An MP has queried why a wind farm in Swansea will apparently produce less power than what was consented by the authorities.
Byron Davies claimed that residents living near Mynydd y Gwair, Felindre, had been misled because the developer said the wind farm’s installed capacity – what its 16 turbines could generate in ideal wind conditions – has dropped from 48 megawatts to 33 megawatts.
Innogy Renewables UK, the company behind the scheme, said its application for up to 48 megawatts had given it flexibility because advancements in wind turbine design were being made all the time.
A spokeswoman said the 33 megawatt wind farm, to be built on common land, would still have the same number of turbines and access requirements as had been consented.
Gower MP Mr Davies said: “Reducing capacity by almost a third at a time when the country is trying to prevent future energy shortages needs explanation. Work has not even started on this scheme and here we have the applicants drastically downgrading the capacity.
“The question has to be posed – is the destruction of habitat and severe disruption to those living nearby worth it for the sake of eight megawatts of power, which is the likely output of this wind farm as they never operate at more than 25 per cent efficiency?”
South Wales West AM and fellow Welsh Conservative Suzy Davies claimed a consequence of this “downgrading” in output would be a drop in a £240,000 annual community payment by the developer to local communities.
“This funding is linked to output, which means that the figure now available will be in the region of £160,000,” she said.
Construction of the wind farm, featuring turbines of up to 127m tall, is set to begin in January and take two years.
The Innogy Renewables UK spokeswoman said: “On applying for planning permission, an ‘envelope approach’ was taken given continual technological advancements within the industry. This approach allows for greater flexibility and to make turbine choices later in the process.
“Now that planning permission has been granted, turbine choices have been considered and the optimum choice for Mynydd y Gwair wind farm would lead to an installed capacity of up to 33.6 megawatts.”
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