|The Atlantic Array|
Array of Hope
The United Kingdom has a legal obligation to produce 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. In practical terms this means that 30% of its electricity needs to be generated in this manner. As opportunities for hydro-electricity are limited and the exploitation of tidal and wave energy is not yet commercially viable, wind energy would appear to be the only practical way of reaching the required target.
Yet frequently we see the development of large scale onshore wind farms the subject of some controversy. Hence the way forward is to harness the abundant wind resource around our coast.
This was the message brought to Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group by Dr Paul Carter and Kim Daye of RWE Renewables when they addressed its recent monthly meeting on the subject of the proposed Atlantic Array.
Paul told the meeting that the aim was to develop a wind farm with the capacity to generate up to 1,500 megawatts of renewable energy within the Bristol Channel Zone. The wind farm would be located around 14 kilometres (km) from closest point to shore on the North Devon coast, 22.5km from closest point to shore the South Wales coast, 13km from Lundy Island and 26km from Caldy Island. Cable landfall from the turbines would be in North Devon with underground connection to the National Grid.
Most recent public consultation has now ended. This was their section 42 consultation where they shared their proposals with a wide range of statutory consultees including local authorities, land owners, and other interested parties, inviting their comments on their plans. The Company also ran a further stage of public consultation alongside this in response to public feedback from the formal consultation held between September and November 2011 which revealed that communities wanted a further opportunity to comment on the proposal once the results of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) became available.
The EIA had been completed and its findings accepted by such bodies as the Countryside Commission for Wales and Natural England. As a consequence of this the area originally proposed for the wind farm had been significantly reduced. The needs of the marine life (particularly the dolphins) when undertaking the construction and maintenance of the Array have also been factored in.
It has also been observed that when the Array is fully functioning bottom fishing in that area will not be possible and many forms of marine life will find a safe haven. Many species will be given space for recovery.
Local linked community benefit would be considerable – the aim was to locally source a wide range of goods and services during both the construction phase and ongoing maintenance. It had been estimated that 200 full time employees would be needed for the latter.
The original date for submission of the planning application for this development had been December 2012, but to ensure full consideration of all the feedback generated by their consultation, the company had now decided to make their submission in spring 2013. If successful, construction would be phased in, with first production not occurring until 2018.
RWE, said Kim was also currently developing the 575 MW Gwynt y Mor wind farm off the North Wales coast. This will be completed in 2014. When the proposed Atlantic Array is completed, the two projects together will produce more than the equivalent of the whole Welsh annual domestic electricity needs and this would make a major contribution to meeting the UK's 2020 target for clean green energy.
The Chair thanked the speakers for their highly informative and thoughtful presentation.
|26th October 2012||The Green Deal: A talk by William Silverstone of Silverstone Green Energy|
|28th September 2012||A Fair Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy on PSEEG's renewable energy project|
|14th September 2012||Not a Waste of Time: a visit to Withyhedges Landfill and recycling centre|
|29th June 2012||The Need for a More Sustainable Future: A talk by Geraldine Leach of Transition Narberth|
|1st June 2012||Know your Flood Risk: A talk by Andy Irving, Flood Risk Management Team Leader|
|11th May 2012||The Power of the Sun: A visit to the Solar Farm at Rhosygilwen|
|23rd March 2012||Planting Green Thoughts: A talk by Jo Horsley, Environment Wales Development Officer|
|24th February 2012||The Atlantic Array offshore wind farm: A talk by Robert Thornhill, Development Manager|
|2nd December 2011||Pathfinder Progress: A talk by Peter Willis from the Welsh Government's Pathfinder Programme|
|4th November 2011||The DeltaStream project: A talk by Chris Williams, Development Director of Tidal Energy Ltd.|
|30th September 2011||How Green is my Valley?: A talk by Grenville Ham, Manager of The Green Valleys Project|
|23rd September 2011||PSEEG's visit to Carew Mill with Marten Lewis of the Darwin Centre|
|5th August 2011||The Manner of the Message: A talk by Neil Sefton on communication skills|
|24th June 2011||The Work of the Darwin Centre: A talk by Marten Lewis, manager of the Darwin Centre|
|27th May 2011||Electric Cars – The Road Ahead?: The talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles|
|13th May 2011||Are electric cars the way forward?: A talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles|
|22nd April 2011||Sustainability in Action: A visit to the Science & Technology Park (Technium) in Pembroke Dock|
|1st April 2011||A Revolution in Wind Energy?: A talk by Vaughan Griffiths from Quietrevolution, Pembroke Dock|
|25th February 2011||Preparing for Floods: A talk by Richard Wickes of the Environment Agency|
|14th January 2011||The Way Forward for Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy|
|12th November 2010||How Green is your Castle?: The National Trust & Global Warming|
|15th October 2010||Challenge of the Rising Sea: The effects on the Pembrokeshire coastline|
|10th August 2010||The beautiful Welsh coastline: Response to possible rising sea levels|
|18th June 2010||Visit to Costain at Canaston Bridge: Not Costing the Earth|
|16th April 2010||Feed in Tariffs: Power to the People|
|12th March 2010||Heat Pumps & Photo Voltaic Panels: Prepare for the Goodlife|
|12th February 2010||Parliamentary Candiates at Green Question Time in Saundersfoot|
|15th January 2010||Weather & Climate: A Question of Energy|
|4th December 2009||Sustainable Community Ventures: Regeneration in Pembrokeshire|
|13th November 2009||Community Initiatives: Sustainable Wales leads by example|
|16th October 2009||Climate Change Challenge for Candidates & Micro-generation with wind turbines|
|2nd October 2009||A Visit to Castle Pill Wind Farm: Quiet blows the wind|
|11th September 2009||Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire|
|10th July 2009||A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential|
|12th June 2009||St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability|
|24th April 2009||Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire|
|13th March 2009||Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun|
|13th February 2009||Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?|
|14th November 2008||Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG|
|17th October 2008||PSEEG to become a Registered Charity|