South Wales based community-owned renewable energy charity Awel Aman Tawe has spoken out about recent claims made by a local anti-wind campaign group near Port Talbot.
The “Stop Y Bryn Wind Farm” campaign group, which was set up in opposition to proposals for a new wind farm near Port Talbot and Maesteg, South Wales, has recently issued leaflets containing information about the project to the local area.
Awel Aman Tawe believes that the distributed information has the potential to seriously mislead local communities and their representatives on the issue of renewables and wind energy generation.
Prif Swyddog (Chief Officer) Dan McCallum said “I was dismayed to learn, during the first week of COP26 and as thousands of people were taking part in climate coalition marches across Wales, that a leaflet containing incorrect information and unsubstantiated claims has been distributed in the areas around Port Talbot and Maesteg.”
“We are on the brink of a climate emergency, and it is disheartening to see such misinformation being circulated, when we need to pull together to find ways of reducing our carbon footprint if we are to avoid the devastating effects of global warming. There is a lot of ‘fake news’ about wind turbines on the internet which is completely wrong, and people have, perhaps unknowingly, put those claims into this leaflet. We also do a lot of work in schools and it’s very important that information presented publicly about renewable energy is accurate.
“I would urge the campaign to carefully review the unsubstantiated claims made in the leaflet and properly assess the claims being made in any future materials. There is a weight of accepted scientific evidence that contradicts these claims and we hope that people carefully consider the points being made in this leaflet before accepting them as true.
“Recent polls have shown that majority of people in the UK recognise the need for and benefit of onshore wind and we’d urge decision makers to recognise the importance of including these projects in the energy mix as we strive for net zero. Over 1,000 young people have been to visit our wind turbines on Mynydd y Gwrhyd over the past 4 years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“Awel Aman Tawe fully supports the proposals for Y Bryn wind farm, which would deliver significant amounts of green energy, as well as one of the largest community benefit contributions per megawatt seen in the UK to date. The prospect of having up to 20% of a project of this scale in community and public sector ownership is also extremely exciting, and represents an opportunity to deliver real local benefit to communities in South Wales.
“We would encourage all those with an interest in the proposals to engage in the current planning process and to participate in the consultation being undertaken prior to submission of an application.”
About Awel Aman Tawe
Awel Aman Tawe (AAT) is a community energy charity working to make a difference to the lives of people throughout south Wales. It developed and operates two community owned wind turbines in Pontardawe on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, and has recently completed the installation of 4.6MWp of solar pv on 88 schools, businesses and community buildings throughout south Wales through Egni Co-op.
AAT is embedded in the community, its small staff and active volunteer group live in the area, and it is committed to protecting the outstanding natural environment of the neighbourhood. It works to raise awareness of the importance of clean energy in the fight against climate change through a sustained programme of information, communication and work in schools and, more recently, through an innovative range of arts activities related to climate change that often reach people at a deeper level.
The quality of its work has been recognised nationally and internationally, including a 2019 National Social Enterprise award for ‘Environmental Organisation of the Year’ and a 2016 ‘Community Renewable Energy’ prize.
Further information can be found on the following AAT websites www.awel.coop and www.egni.coop
Case study documents on the Awel Co-op wind farm can be seen here (Gov Wales) Awel Co-op Case Study and on Egni Co-op here
A leaflet distributed by the ‘Stop Y Bryn Wind Farm’ group has made a wide range of claims, including:
Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8: Renewable Energy (TAN8 has since been revoked and replaced by Future Wales, but does indicate that the area including Y Bryn has long been considered suitable for wind energy)
Onshore Wind Turbine SG 6.6-170 I Siemens Gamesa
N163/6.X – Nordex SE (nordex-online.com)
Wind farm noise statutory nuisance complaint methodology (publishing.service.gov.uk)
House of Lords – Economic Affairs – Written Evidence (parliament.uk)
In our experience of living close to the Awel turbines, noise is not a problem
- there is not enough wind, other times the grid can’t cope with production. If it’s too windy and increasing noise issues, or too sunny and increasing flicker issues, they are often turned off” – wind turbines generally work in between 3m/s and 25m/s wind speeds experienced at hub height, on average producing power ~75-85% of the time, at an average ~30-40% load factor. If they are ever required to be turned off (temporarily) – but as this represents a loss to the operators they would tend to design projects to avoid the need for such shutdowns. Our own Awel turbines have been generating renewable power in excess of predictions since 2017.
- hadow flicker is modelled and assessed as part of any wind turbine application. Our own community’s experience of living close to our wind turbines, is that shadow flicker is not an issue although it was raised as a concern pre-construction
- This is not correct. Turbines are predominantly steel and other metals which are recyclable. Turbine blades have not historically been recycled but new advances and regulations mean that blades from Y Bryn would almost certainly be recycled come the end of its operating life, e.g.
Can wind turbines be recycled? (engie.com)
Siemens Gamesa pioneers wind circularity: launch of world’s first recyclable wind turbine blade for commercial use offshore
Wind industry calls for Europe-wide ban on landfilling turbine blades | WindEurope
- this is untrue. There are a significant number of schemes, both around the UK and the world, that are using or proposing the latest turbine technology, e.g.
Renewable Energy Planning Database: quarterly extract – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Swedish Twin Peaks 242 MW project to deploy Siemens Gamesa 5.X platform
Siemens Gamesa takes UK onshore wind to new heights with deal to install its market-leading SG 5.8-155 turbines in Scotland
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