The progressive Swedish energy giant Vattenfall has just received Welsh government approval to build the Pen Y Cymoedd project, a 299-megawatt (MW) wind farm in South Wales — but it is partly on the site of an extensive potential coal seam that local coal mining company Unity Mine would like to mine at some point in the future.
The government has made a bold decision in favor of clean energy for Wales, which has been practically synonymous with coal since the middle ages.
With what must be some of the largest and most powerful turbines for land-based wind farms, (299 MW divided by 76 turbines amounts to almost 4 MW per turbine) this wind farm would have the highest generating capacity of any onshore wind farm in England and Wales.
Just 76 turbines will be able to generate 100 percent of the electricity needed to supply 206,000 homes for 25 years, boosting Welsh renewable electricity output by a massive 37 percent in one fell swoop.
An underground power cable will be laid to a new 132-400-kilowolt National Grid Electricity Transmission substation near Rhigos, Wales.
The wind farm, likely to be completed and turned on in 2016, is expected to pump £1 billion into the Welsh economy in its three years of construction, and Vattenfall has pledged a community benefits package potentially worth more than £55 million over the lifetime of the development, including £3 million for habitat management and £6,000 a year per megawatt to a community trust fund.
It is also sited over a potential coal seam, deep underground.