DECC axe falls on Welsh wind
Llandinam only project with consent after 600MW Powys mega-inquiry
DECC has refused planning consent for all but one of the five wind farms comprising the 600MW conjoined Powys inquiry.
Only the 102MW Llandinam repowering by ScottishPower Renewables and Eurus was granted permission by Energy Secretary Amber Rudd.
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The refused projects were RWE Innogy’s 150MW Carnedd Wen, RES’ 90MW Llanbrynmair, Vattenfall’s 59.5MW Llanbadarn Fynydd and the 62.1MW Llaithddu by Fferm Wynt Llaithddu.
Rudd also refused a 132kV overhead power line from the Llandinam project to the Welshpool substation.
An inquiry into the projects closed in May 2014 and the Planning Inspector’s recommendations were submitted to previous Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who postponed a decision until after May’s General Election.
RenewableUK Cymru director David Clubb said Amber Rudd has brought “ruin to mid Wales.”
“The news will come as a devastating blow to the many businesses in mid Wales and beyond who were set to benefit from jobs in the construction of the wind farms, plus the wider supply chain,” he said.
“This set of refusals also eliminates the possibility of many tens of millions of pounds of community benefit which were set to flow to the region, along with business rates and land rental.
“Given the blows that the UK government are raining down onto the renewable energy sector on both consents and subsidies, Ministers will be heading to the Paris climate discussions with their credibility in tatters.”
Rudd went against the advice of the Planning Inspector by refusing Llanbrynmair and Carnedd Wen.
The Energy Secretary agreed with the Planning Inspector’s recommendation to refuse consent to Llaithddu and Llanbadarn Fynydd.
The Planning Inspectorate recommended the 132kV overhead line from the Llandinam project be approved on the condition the repowering was given the go-ahead and if section 36 consents were granted taking total capacity in Strategic Search Area C above 160MW.
DECC refused the application outright citing harm to heritage assets and landscape visual impact but agreed with the Inspector that an alternative identified as Route D is a “viable route”.
Clubb said without the substation consent the repowering project “may struggle”.
For the full story, see the next issue of subscriber-only newsletter reNEWS and the upcoming special report on England & Wales onshore wind.
Image: the original Llandinam wind farm in Wales (Iberdrola)