west*wales*news*review

West Wales News Review — analysis with a sustainability slant

Plan for 125 metre wind turbines at Rhydcymerau  

Could this be a trend? Receive planning permission for a project and quickly seek to make it much bigger? 

Carmarthenshire Herald, September 9th 2016, p.2

From supersize to megasize

Six months after winning a battle for planning permission, the firm proposing two wind turbines 100 metres (325 feet) high to the blade tip, sited north of Rhydcymerau on Mynydd Pencarreg, is asking to ditch those for even larger turbines, measuring 125 metres (406 feet) from ground to blade tip.

The structures would be taller than the 111-metre dome of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, and the blade tips would be some 475 metres (1,544 feet) above sea level.

The site is above 350 metres, about half a mile north of Esgairliving and a smaller distance south-west of Pantycrwys.   The Allt y Mynydd care home is about a mile distant.

The turbine owners, EnergieKontor UK Ltd of Leeds, a subsidiary of the German parent company, argue that the taller turbines could yield 37.7% more energy, from 10,417 to 14,347 MW hours per year.  The location map indicates that one of the higher structures would have to be moved from the current approved position because if it toppled, it could fall across a public road.

A deluge of objections, as well as expressions of support, greeted the original planning application. Llanybydder Community Council, which objected strongly, is likely to consider the application for even taller turbines when it meets on September 27.

VAST opposition

The group Villages Against Wind Turbines (VAST) also opposed the original application on grounds including damage to the landscape and ecology, noise, traffic, and distance to the National Grid.

VAST commented that construction of the 100-metre turbines “would require over 2,500 vehicle movements. This includes over 1,300 HGV trips and 50 turbine loads. The applicants anticipate an eight-month construction period ahead of becoming operational in 2017 – and this coincides with the construction timetable for Brechfa West”.

Connection to the National Grid was also an issue for VAST, which said it would require more than six kilometres of overhead or underground lines.  “Members of the public were told at the developer’s exhibition that the connection would be underground. If this was truthful, then there will be a sizeable environmental impact from six kilometres of trenching. This should have been factored in to the developer’s assessment of the site’s suitability and consideration of better alternatives, with a closer grid connection,” VAST argued before the turbines were given planning permission.

In response to the new application to increase the turbines’ height, VAST secretary Caroline Hill said: “VAST is seeking professional advice before responding to a planning application for a variation in height on this scale.  EnergieKontor has not as yet submitted sufficient information for the full impact to be assessed.”

The latest application will be determined by Carmarthenshire County Council.

PDR

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