A new onshore wind farm project is underway in Wales.
The £70m Pant Y Wal Wind Farm is located between Ogmore Vale and Cwm Clydach Forest in South Wales and comprises 21 turbines. Once the wind farm is fully operational, it will produce enough energy to power approximately 36,000 homes.
Work commenced on the project in late October 2011 when construction began on a 4.5KM access road to the site. Foundations are scheduled for installation in mid-2012, whilst the turbines will be erected towards the end of 2012 and will continue through to the beginning of 2013. Works are currently progressing on schedule.
Funding for the project has been provided by Lloyds TSB and from an equity investment from Pennant Walters Holdings and its joint venture partners InfraRed Capital Partners. Walters UK is the civil engineering constructor and Powersystems Ltd is the electrical contractor.
In 2005 the Welsh Assembly Government implemented a planning exercise to concentrate wind farm developments within specific areas. Pant Y Wal Wind Farm is located within Strategic Search Area F (SSA F), which is eventually expected to host up to 430MW of wind farms. The existing RWE Npower Taff Ely Wind Farm is located outside SSA F, 5km to the south of the site.
The site was selected due to a number of significant benefits, including good wind speed, distance from residential properties, location in SSA F and good access. There were also limited ecological interests, no challenging ground conditions and a minimal number of trees that required felling.
Before work commenced on the site, preparation works included the implementation of trial pits. A full set of test holes were also drilled at each of the turbine locations and tests were also conducted at other locations around the site.
As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment works, a suite of studies were conducted on the site. Some of these recommendations were subsequently taken into consideration for the purposes of planning permission.
Nordex N90 HS turbines were selected based on their solid track record in the UK and Europe. German turbine specialist Nordex was awarded the contract following a rigorous tender exercise between major manufacturers and has also been granted a ten-year contract to operate and maintain the Pant Y Wal Wind Farm.
The turbines have a hub height of 70m and a rotor diameter of 45 metres, giving them an impressive tip height of 115m. Due to a grid constraint, the export capacity of Pant Y Wal will be 44MW. However, the installed capacity will be above this.
Pant Y Wal Wind Farm is Pennant Walters Holdings’ second wind farm construction project. The company completed its first site at Maesgwyn in April 2011 and the wind farm is now fully operational.
Pant Y Wal Wind Farm is due to be completed by April 2013.