Gwynt y Môr Wind Farm
As part of UK Wind Week, we’re taking a look at Gwynt y Môr.
RWE’s Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm located off the coast of North Wales is the fifth largest operating windfarm in the world. Planning permission was granted in 2008, construction started in 2012 and it was fully operational and in 2015. In total, 160 wind turbines produce enough power to supply the equivalent needs of some 400,000 residential households with renewable electricity per year.
Gwynt y Môr created over 700 jobs during construction and over £90 million was spent within Wales. And since becoming operational, 100 long term, skilled jobs have been created with the wind farm typically investing around £8 million into the Welsh economy each year.
In addition, as part of delivering on Offshore Wind Sector Deal commitments, RWE Renewables, the company that built and operates Gwynt y Môr, has become a champion for the development of a brand new supply chain cluster in the North Wales and the North West of England. The cluster aims to raise awareness of upcoming opportunities in the offshore wind and broader low carbon sectors for the benefit of local businesses.
RWE also champions skills development in the North Wales region and has a valuable partnership with Coleg Llandrillo Menai. To date, 30 wind turbine apprentices have been trained at the College and earlier in 2020 RWE announced that its UK-wide training hub would be now based at the North Wales campus.
The Gwynt y Môr Community Fund was set up with the intention of making a long-term impact on the sustainable development of North Wales. Over the lifetime of the project, which is expected to be up to 25 years, it will invest over £19 million into projects across North Wales.
The fund focuses on the themes of:
- Building strong and sustainable communities
- Developing prosperous communities with strong economic growth
- Reducing poverty and inequality in communities
In addition to the community fund, a one-off tourism fund of £690,000 was delivered during the construction of the project. This fund helped to:
- Make major improvements to the Victorian pier at Llandudno so cruise liners such as the Waverly can once again dock in the town.
- Supported replacement of the slipway onto Llandudno Beach to enable National Championships to be hosted and small lifeboats to be launched.
- Contributed to the re-development of Rhyl Harbour. Gwynt y Môr also provided practical support by providing a specialist vessel to help.
- Kick started the Green Links Project to promote walking and cycling opportunities, nature reserves and other attractions between Llandudno and Prestatyn.
- Backed Rhyl’s attempt to win blue flag status for its beach.
The Gwynt y Môr Community Fund has also awarded a £570,000 donation to the RNLI in North Wales for a rescue support vehicle, which can be deployed to incidents across the region and further afield. It was invaluable during flooding in Cumbria in 2015 where it was used to assist the evacuation of over 200 people. The funding has also been used to train volunteers at Llandudno, Conwy, Rhyl and Flint lifeboat stations.
In recent months, over £150,000 has been given to 40 local groups to help in the fight against COVID-19. These include supporting food banks, providing meals for NHS staff, printing of play packs and educational sheets for children and their families, making scrubs for the NHS, supporting isolated veterans, meeting the challenge of increased levels of domestic violence, comfort blankets for very small children in a hospice, PPE 3D printing and a temporary FM licence for a community radio station to provide public information.
Gwynt y Môr in numbers
Turbines – 160
Total installed capacity – 576 MW
Generating enough electricity for 400,000 homes each year
Investment during construction – more than £2 billion
Community benefit fund – £19 million over 25 years
Locally based jobs – circa 100