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Welsh renewables developer submits application for Energy Park

Welsh renewable energy developer Bute Energy (slogan: ‘Making the Welsh weather work for Wales’) has submitted an application for a Development of National Significance for the Twyn Hywel Energy Park, on the border of Caerphilly County Borough Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.

The Twyn Hywel Energy Park will include up to 14 wind turbines generating 92.4MW of clean, green energy, enough to power the equivalent of 81,000 households a year.

The energy generated at Twyn Hywel will help displace approximately 5.7m tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent to taking all cars off the road in Caerphilly County Borough Council each year.

The Twyn Hywel Energy Park will also deliver significant benefits to the local community, including an annual Community Benefit Fund in the region of £693,000 – totalling more than £30 million over the up to 45-year operational life of the project. The Community Benefit Fund will focus on creating healthier, wealthier communities by supporting recreational, health and wellbeing improvements, enhancing local education offering and identifying more pathways into employment for local people. And it will highlight opportunities to celebrate and promote local culture, heritage and biodiversity.

The project could also deliver recreational improvements in consultation with local communities and users of Eglwysilan Common, including enhancement of existing public rights of way so they are fully accessible and inclusive for all users.

Improvements to habitats and support for local wildlife are also included in the application, with the project committed to delivering around 20% Biodiversity Net Benefit to the site through proposals including hedgerow planting and the restoration of degraded bog habitats.

Matthew Haughton, Project Manager for the Twyn Hywel Energy Park, said: ‘The design of the Energy Park has evolved through constructive feedback from the local community and other stakeholders, that has seen a reduction in the number of turbines, and a change in location of some of the turbines, to reduce the impact on nearby communities.

‘As a nation we’re in a climate emergency, and a cost-of-living crisis. Our supply of energy is threatened by world events. Yet there is endless potential for renewable energy in Wales – particularly from the wind that blows across our hills and mountains. Bute Energy is making the Welsh weather work for Wales: acting now to help deliver clean, green energy to our homes and businesses, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and supporting the Welsh Government’s target for electricity to be 100% renewable by 2035.’

RenewableUK Cymru Director, Jess Hooper said: ‘Onshore wind is cheap and quick to build and is a critical part of the renewable energy mix Wales needs to meet our energy security and net zero targets. 40% of Wales’s renewable generation currently comes from onshore wind. To make the major inroads we need to meet the Welsh Government’s proposed target of 100% of electricity from renewable resources by 2035, we desperately need to upgrade our grid network and streamline the planning process so that more onshore wind developments like Twyn Hywel can come online.

‘The substantial Community Benefit Fund from this project is an excellent example of the enormous benefit onshore wind can bring. It is clear Bute Energy are working collaboratively with the local community as part of the development process and listening to their views on what form these benefits should take, building a strong, successful partnership going forward.’

The majority of the proposed Energy Park site sits within a Pre-Assessed Area for large-scale onshore wind energy according to the Welsh Government’s National Development Framework, Future Wales: The National Plan 2040. As the proposed Twyn Hywel Energy Park will generate more than 10MW of energy, it is classed as a Development of National Significance, meaning that Bute Energy have applied to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW), which will make a recommendation to Welsh Ministers, on whether or not to grant planning permission.

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