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Welsh wind farm strategy blows up a storm

Welsh wind farm strategy blows up a storm

The Welsh Assembly Government has specified seven areas throughout Wales where additional wind farms will be set up in an attempt to augment clean energy production by at least 10 % from renewable sources in the subsequent five years. The Welsh Assembly Government has specified seven areas throughout Wales where additional wind farms will be set up in an attempt to augment clean energy production by at least 10 % from renewable sources in the subsequent five years.

The government announced its plans after a consultation process but failed to receive a positive response, especially by the natives of Wales, who believe that wind farms did not produce enough electricity that could substantiate its need and establishment, besides damaging landscapes. In fact, Caroline Evans, co-ordinator of the Brechfa Forest Energy Action Group called the decision a “death- knell for the Welsh uplands.” She intended to touch a personal chord with the populace while saying, “We want to get tourists and in Brechfa Forest money has just been invested in mountain biking tracks to do that. But that’s no good if you look up and see something bigger than the Statue of Liberty.”

Moreover, in a Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, a statement disagreeing to the wind farm project said, “We are particularly disappointed that this ill conceived policy framework does not give reasonable credence or legitimacy to the realistic contribution that energy conservation measures and the range of other renewable technologies offer.”

Nevertheless, environment minister, Carwyn Jones looked unfazed about the issue and expressed confidence in the new strategy. He believed that it was apt for Wales and it would “enable us to meet our commitment to deliver four terawatt hours of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2010.” He added that a variety of other renewable energy sources and technologies had been evaluated after which coming to the conclusion that “onshore wind is the only viable option to provide the lion’s share of the 2010 Assembly renewable target.”

Meanwhile, environmental group appreciated the move, along with Friends of the Earth Cymru. The allotted sites for wind farms included Carno North in Powys and Coed Morgannwg, which would have the maximum number of turbines of more than a 100 each. Other five sites outlined for development were Nant-y-Moch in Ceredigion, Clocaenog Forest in Gwynedd, Pontardawe in the Swansea Valley, Brechfa Forest in Carmarthenshire and Newtown South in Powys. All these sites would have about 25-50 turbines each.

Presently, about 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity from renewable sources is achieved in Wales and there is need for more 1,000MW to achieve the energy target. According to the plan, about 200MW of the required amount would be derived from offshore wind farms while the remaining 800MW will be got from on-shore wind farms. The total cost involved would amount to £700m.

Then again, Joel Rawson at the Centre for Alternative Technology was seen pushing the efficiency of other renewable energy generating sources, like solar and hydro electricity and reiterated that exploration of alternative sources ought to be done in greater detail.

He said, “We would certainly like to see much more commitment made to the development of these sort of technologies, (solar and hydro) because support needs to be given at this stage, in order for them to be ready in 10 years or so, to sit alongside wind power and make a coherent energy strategy.”

JosephBeale

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