Plans to build a mega wind farm with turbines as tall as some of the largest buildings in Britain have been blasted today.
The 15 turbines, proposed for the Gwynedd-Denbighshire border in north Wales, will be part of the center operated by the German energy firm RWE.
Each turbine will stand up to 180 meters (590ft) from base to blade tip – that is as tall as the Gherkin building in central London, one of the biggest skyscrapers in the UK.
The proposals have divided opinion though, with former film star Martin Glyn Murray, 56, part of an online group campaigning to ax the plans.
Martin, from Llandderfel in the area, said: “I support green energy but tourism, and the natural beauty of our landscapes, need our support just as much.
“The proposed site is rich with peat, an important carbon store, and RWE has been unable to say how they would protect it. There is a suspicion this mountain was chosen only because it’s cheaper than building wind farms off shore.”
Others took to Facebook to echo the former actor’s concerns, North Wales Live reports.
“They’ll spoil the view,” one man posted.
“Put these eyesores in London instead,” shared another.
The proposed site is an area of upland moorland with some forestry that lies between the Dee Valley and Nant Ffrauar to the west.
As well as turbines, associated infrastructure is needed, including a substation, energy storage and access roads. At least one anemometer mast, as tall as the turbines to measure wind speeds, is needed for the duration of the wind farm’s 35-year lifespan.
A separate planning application is needed for grid connection to the nearest point 2km away. Given the height of the turbines, aviation obstacle lighting is needed and this must be agreed with the Civil Aviation Authority.
The UK’s tallest wind turbines, at 200 meters, are located at Lethans, Scotland. However plans have been put forward for 26 turbines between Port Talbot and Maesteg that would dwarf even these. If built, they will reach 250 meters with a rotor diameter of 170 meters.
Consultants acting for RWE said Planning Policy Wales (PW) believes low-carbon electricity “must become the main source of energy in Wales”. They added: “PPW notes that energy demand is expected to grow due to the growing electrification of transport and heat.”
Arfon Edwards, development manager for RWE’s Gaerwen wind farm project, stressed the project is at an early stage. However next month the firm is launching a three-week public consultation.
He said: “RWE has a long history of working with communities in North Wales, whether it’s in consultation for proposed developments or community benefit packages, or even our UK-wide apprenticeship program in partnership with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, and we intend to continue doing so.
“We intend to hold a number of events at different locations during a comprehensive three-week consultation period starting next month, which will enable nearby interested groups to speak with the project team and view the proposals in detail, including aspects such as environmental and visual impact. As well as circulating information through local press and online, we will also be writing to households in the area directly to invite them along, to ensure everyone has access to information on the project, should they wish to find out more.”