Plans for Europe's largest off-shore wind farm due to be unveiled today
The Rhiannon wind farm, situated 12 miles off the coast of Anglesey, could generate enough electricity for 1.5m homes
Plans for an off-shore wind farm that could dwarf Europe’s largest off-shore green energy scheme will be unveiled today.
Celtic Array will begin a second round of consultations on its plans for the Rhiannon wind farm around 12 miles off the coast of Anglesey.
The plans could see up to 440 turbines built, generating 2.2 gigawatts of electricity – enough for around 1.5m homes. Positioned between Anglesey and the Isle of Man both the generating capacity and the number of turbines could dwarf Europe’s largest off-shore wind farm currently under construction – Gwynt-y-Mor.
When built at the end of this year this 576 megawatt RWE Innogy scheme off the coast of Llandudno will supply 400,000 homes.
Owned by Centrica and Danish outfit DONG Energy Celtic Array say Rhiannon requires a sizeable investment that would provide a “significant opportunity” for Anglesey’s economy, North Wales and the UK as a whole.
Celtic Array has said it intends to support community projects if Rhiannon is built.
But Anglesey councillor Richard Owain Jones, who represents Twrcelyn on the island’s north coast, said locals were unconvinced by the jobs argument.
In addition he said there are concerns about the potential impact on views and tourism.
Mr Jones, who instead favours submerged tidal power schemes with a minimised impact on views, said: “There are a lot of wind turbines anyway so it’s just adding to those we have already. People in this area have had their fair share of turbines already and there is a strong feeling against them.”
The wind farm would be connected to Anglesey via undersea export cables to up to four sites on land. From here, electricity would be transferred to a network of underground cables that would carry the power to a new onshore substation at Rhosgoch.
As with other major infrastructure projects local authority input is severely limited – ultimately the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey will decide the fate of the off-shore scheme. Anglesey council will only vote on its on-shore elements.
National Grid is currently consulting on plans to build controversial new pylons to carry electricity from the wind farm and a planned new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey. The off-shore site is one of a dozen around the UK where wind farms could be built in the next 10 years as the UK Government plans a shift towards renewables to enable it to meet international emissions targets.
Celtic Array maintains its proposals are not set in stone and there could end up being as few as 150 turbines. The firm has said it can’t put a figure on the height of the turbines as it will consult on a range of options.
Rhiannon development manager, Kirsty McGuinness, said: “We’re committed to being a good neighbour and are pleased to have made real progress since our last consultation events.
“I’m delighted to be in a position where we can now talk to the community in more detail about how our plans have developed so we can take on board any further views and answer any questions they may have.”
The initial proposals from Celtic Array were first submitted to the UK government in the summer of 2012 with the first public exhibition on Anglesey in November of that year. The earlier round of meetings saw the company explain how it would formally consult on its proposals. The first consultation meeting is held today (Monday) at Llaneilian Women’s Institute Hall between 2pm and pm.
The consultation will run up to May 19. Construction could start in 2017.
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