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Wind farm firm vows to provide hundreds of thousands in cash

A Welsh firm has vowed to plough hundreds of thousands of pounds into an Afan Valley community if its wind farm plans get the green light.Cardiff-based Eco2 is poised to submit plans for four 410ft turbines to power 7,500 homes on land near the village of Glyncorrwg.

It said it will dish out 9,750 a year to the community for 25 years - the projected lifespan of the scheme.

But opponents in the village say they are under siege from wind farm applications, and that the benefits will have scant impact on climate change.

A 16-turbine wind farm, built by npowerrenewables, is up and running nearby, while Spanish-owned firm Gamesa wants to build 14 603ft turbines - four near Glyncorrwg, and 10 on Gelli mountain near Croeserw.

By 2010 the Assembly wants 10 per cent of all energy produced to be from renewable sources.

It has identified Neath Port Talbot as a prime area to locate wind farms, providing 38 per cent of all potential sites in Wales.

But it does not automatically mean that proportion of wind farms will be built there.

Eco2 spokeswoman Scarlett Fish said it had downsized the proposals from six to four turbines after a consultation with the Glyncorrwg community.

And she said a local farmer had initially approached Eco2 saying he had private land suitable for a wind farm.

"We plan to give the community 3,250 per megawatt per year," she said. "The money can be spent on anything. It is for the life of the project, which is normally 25 years.

"After that the wind farm will be decommissioned and the land restored."

She added: "At the moment we are putting together an environmental assessment which will be submitted with the application."

A decision on the scheme will be made by Neath Port Talbot Council.

The public will be given a 21-day slot to have their say.

Bob Slater, spokesman for Glyncorrwg Action Group, said he had not yet seen details of Eco2's plans, but added: "Our community is under threat from outside developers.

"We will fight them with every means at our disposal.

"This is a David and Goliath struggle - multi-million pound companies, trying to make more money, against vulnerable communities."

He added: "We are not against renewable energy but the Assembly should be looking more at tidal and biomass energy.

"Climate change will only be sorted out by people reducing their energy consumption."

Newspaper: South Wales Evening Post
Date: 15/01/07