Awel y Môr: Consultation for wind farm off Wales' coast launched

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The windfarmImage source, RWE Renewables
Image caption,
Combined with the existing Gwynt y Mor turbines, the wind farm would be among the largest in the world

A consultation into plans to build one of the world's biggest offshore wind farms off the north Wales coast has been launched.

About 100 turbines could be constructed as part of plans for Awel y Môr, between Colwyn Bay and Llanfairfechan.

RWE Renewables said it would be 10.5km (6.5 miles) off the coast, to the west of the existing Gwynt y Môr turbines.

They would cover an area of 88 sq km (34 sq miles) and the turbines could be as tall as 332m (1,089ft).

The energy firm said the new farm would be able to power 900,000 homes.

The same developers are behind Gwynt y Môr, which has 160 turbines, off Llandudno, in Conwy, and is one of the UK's largest offshore wind farms.

According to RWE, the maximum number of turbines planned for Awel y Môr has dropped from 107 to 91.

Image source, RWE RENEWABLES
Image caption,
Taken together there could be a total of 251 turbines across both Gwynt Y Môr and Awel Y Mor

Taken together there could be a total of 251 turbines across both Gwynt y Môr and Awel y Môr, making it one of the biggest wind farms in the world.

If approved the scheme could be operational by 2030.

The firm expects to submit its application to the UK government in 2022.

A preliminary report outlining maps, plans and details of potential negative impacts - on sea life, birds, fishing, and ocean currents - has been published.

Noise onshore is also being considered, along with the farm's possible effects on tourism and conservation.

Image caption,
Tamsyn Rowe is managing the project for RWE which said it was a "once-in-a-decade opportunity for Wales"

Project manager Tamsyn Rowe said the business was "really keen" to hear people's views.

"I am really excited about this project and what it could deliver, not only in terms of renewable energy but also the creation of skilled jobs and local investment opportunities," she said.

The firm called the proposals a "once-in-a-decade opportunity for Wales" and the largest planned renewable energy scheme in Wales for the next 10 years.

But there is opposition

Last year John Lawson-Reay, who led the Save Our Scenery campaign group against Gwynt Y Môr, said they would fight the plans.

Image caption,
John Lawson-Reay said it would be "criminal" to ruin the scenery

"It started and then it spread and spread," he said at the time.

"It's become a visual eyesore.

"One of the main things we have to sell is the scenery and to clutter it up is criminal."

The consultation will run until 11 October, in the form of online and mobile exhibitions. Key documents will be on hand in a number of libraries across north Wales.