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article imageMajor offshore wind farm to be built off north Wales coast

By Paris Franz     Jun 5, 2010 in Environment
Construction is due to begin next year in Wales on one of the largest wind farms in the world, renewable energy firm RWE-Innogy has announced.
The German-based RWE-Innogy states the £2 billion Gwynt y Mor (Welsh for 'Wind in the Sea') wind farm will have 160 wind turbines, with an installed capacity of 576 megawatts. It will be built in Liverpool Bay, about 10 miles off the north Wales coast near Colwyn Bay and Llandudno, and is expected to be completed in 2014.
Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan told the BBC, "This is excellent news. Gwynt y Mor will be one of the single biggest private investment projects ever seen in Wales, creating up to 1,000 quality jobs and contributing many millions of pounds to the regional economy of north Wales. Surrounded by wind, wave and tidal resources, we are in a prime position to be able to benefit from investment in the green economy whilst making a significant contribution to the [UK] government's carbon reduction targets through safe, clean renewable means."
Gillan said the project will provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of 400,000 homes.
However, the project has been opposed by some people in Llandudno, such as the group Save Our Scenery, who maintain wind generation is inefficient. They also claim the wind farm would destroy the resort town's views out to sea.
John Lawson-Reay, chairman of Save our Scenery, was also doubtful about how many jobs would be created. "There will be a few jobs in Mostyn where they're handling the equipment but as far as this part of the world is concerned, you can forget it,” he told the BBC. "There's no prospect of us in this particular area getting anything out of this."
The announcement confirmed that contracts worth £2.2m have already been awarded to companies in Wales.
Work is due to start towards the end of next year and the the wind farm is planned to generate electricity from 2013, although it will not be completed until 2014.
The project will involve three partners: RWE Innogy, Stadtwerke München and Siemens. RWE has invested in other wind farms off the north Wales coast such as Rhyl Flats, currently Wales' largest wind farm.
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