Green GEN Cymru, part of the Bute Energy group, is thanking local communities for having their say after more than 2,500 people took part in an initial round of consultation on the proposed Green GEN Towy Usk renewable energy network.
The consultation, which ran from 6 March to 28 April, saw five well attended consultation events and three online webinars where people commented on the company’s preferred route and the design of the project. Following this round of public consultation, all feedback received will be carefully considered, along with assessments from environmental and technical surveys, ahead of the next round of public consultation – expected in early 2024.
Green GEN Towy Usk is a renewable energy network which will link Bute Energy’s Nant Mithil Energy Park, which could generate around 237MW of clean, green energy in the Radnor Forest area – and a number of other Energy Parks in the early assessment and feasibility stage, to the National Grid at a point near Carmarthen. And it could reduce pressure on the existing electricity grid, supporting green businesses and enabling green heating and the roll out of electric vehicles across rural Wales.
Bute Energy is taking action now to help deliver clean green energy to our homes and businesses by developing the energy network in Wales. Green GEN Towy Usk could also allow direct connection of community projects and support energy resilience. It has the potential to support technologies like 5G that could help farmers, schools and businesses to be at the cutting edge of technology while being based in a rural area.
It will tackle both the energy crisis and the climate crisis, and empower rural communities through investment, jobs and skills, enabling communities across Wales to live modern electric lives, supporting the Welsh Government’s target for electricity to be 100% renewable by 2035.
Gareth Williams, Grid Director at Bute Energy said: “It has been good to speak to local people about our plans – and there’s broad agreement that renewable energy has an important role to play in responding to the Climate Emergency. There is endless potential for renewable energy in Wales – particularly from the wind that blows across our hills and mountains.
“But we know that people have differing views on new infrastructure, and we are focused on causing the least disturbance to the environment and those who live, work and enjoy recreation close to our proposals.
“We heard local people tell us that they had concerns about the visual impact of our plans, asking us to consider undergrounding parts of the route, and wanting to understand more about the potential impact on the communities the route passes through. Over the next few months we will be reviewing feedback from local people, along with reports from environmental and technical surveys, and use it to evolve the design and routing of the project, responding to the issues that have been raised. We anticipate that our next round of consultation will be in early 2024, ahead of submitting an application for a Development of National Significance to the Welsh Government in 2025.
A Community Benefit Fund of £7500 per MW of installed capacity a year for each Bute Energy Energy Park that connects to the Green GEN Towy Usk project will be set up. This will be accessible for communities near the Energy Parks and communities along the route of Green GEN Towy Usk, which could mean a pot of approx. £4m a year that local organisations, charities, and community groups can access.
The company is also working with local education, training, and employability providers to create inclusive employment pathways to enter the renewable energy industry. This includes work with local colleges to enhance the provision of green skill development programmes available locally, creating green skills centres of excellence across Wales, enabling a pipeline of talent for the renewable energy industry. The Bute Energy and Green GEN Cymru portfolio has the potential to support up to 6,500 jobs during construction and up to 150 skilled long-term jobs during operation across Wales.