The largest onshore wind farm in Wales, developed by Vattenfall was officially opened today by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.
The First Minister was hosted at Vattenfall’s 76-turbine, 228 MW Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project on the estate managed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) by Vattenfall’s President and CEO, Magnus Hall, who told the First Minister, “we are in Wales to grow”.
The Swedish energy group Vattenfall said at the inauguration of the wind farm that 52 percent of its £400 million investment to build Pen y Cymoedd has gone to businesses in Wales, securing work for more than 1,000 workers in Wales over the past three years.
“Wind power is a key part of our efforts to build a sustainable low carbon economy for Wales” said the First Minister. “I am pleased we were able to support this project, which has shown how the local community, the Welsh economy and people right across the country can benefit from such a scheme.”
Magnus Hall added that Pen y Cymoedd boosts Wales’ drive to carbon reduction, it accelerates Vattenfall’s shift to be fossil free in a generation and it helps the Welsh economy to grow. Vattenfall and its contractors have spent £220 million in the Welsh economy since construction started in 2014, 52 percent Mr Hall said that this is quite an achievement and one which the company will want to repeat if it gets the chance to build other wind farms in Wales.
More than 1,000 workers from Wales helped build the wind farm during its construction. For the next 20 years or more, Pen y Cymoedd will employ 23 skilled wind farm technicians and support staff from the local workforce.
“Pen y Cymoedd has been a fantastic contract, not only for the business, but also our 350 employees and their families” said Huw Jones, Chairman of Jones Bros Civil Engineering, which built the scheme in a joint venture with Balfour Beatty. “Around 90 per cent of our employees are Welsh, and it’s fantastic that so much of the investment into the Pen y Cymoedd workforce has been going straight back into the Welsh economy via their pay packets. To be able to work on more onshore wind farms in Wales would mean more good news for the business and the Welsh families it supports.”
In an average year, Pen y Cymoedd will power the equivalent of 188,000 UK homes, about 15 percent of Welsh households. Operational since spring 2017, the project will have paid back its carbon footprint by 2020 and will continue generating fossil fuel free electricity till at least 2037. Pen y Cymoedd will displace, in an average year, over 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuelled generation, based on current levels of carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.
Image: A wind turbine under construction for the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm, with turbines from the Maerdy wind farm in the background.