Swedish energy company Vattenfall has been given the go-ahead to build a huge wind farm in Wales by UK Energy Secretary Charles Hendry.
He has granted Section 36 consent for a 76-turbine project of up to 299 megawatts between Neath and Aberdare in South Wales.
The Pen Y Cymoedd scheme would be one of the largest onshore wind farms in the UK and the largest outside Scotland.
Vattenfall had originally applied to build an 84-turbine development but the number was reduced due to concerns about the visibility of turbines from nearby Brecon Beacons National Park land as well their impact on peat bogs.
Approval was on condition that Vattenfall agrees to fund a community benefits package potentially worth around £55m over the lifetime of the development, including £6,000 a year per megawatt to a community fund.
The proposals are for an area identified as being suitable for large-scale wind farm development by the Welsh Government under Technical Advice Note 8 (TAN 8).
Charles Hendry said: “Onshore wind plays an important role in enhancing our energy security. It is the cheapest form of renewable energy and reduces our reliance on foreign fuel.
“This project in South Wales will generate vast amounts of home-grown renewable electricity and provide a significant benefits package for the local community.”
Neither of the relevant local authorities objected to the wind farm subject to conditions, covering such issues as construction, noise, archaeology, habitat management and hydrology, being included in any planning permission granted.
In response to concerns about possible effects on mining, conditions have been included to safeguard the future extraction of coal from under the site of the wind farm. The requested conditions are attached to the deemed planning permission.
10 May 2012