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The wind turbines at Alltwalis produce electricity 7,450 hours per year (i.e. 85% of the time). For the remaining 15% of the time, there are situations when the wind farm is not producing electricity because there is either too little or too much wind. There are other times when maintenance is being carried-out on the turbines. In addition, from time to time both National Grid & Western Power Distribution have to carry out essential works / refurbishments to their respective networks to ensure continued security of supply. On occasions this will result in a reduction of network capacity for the export of power from the Alltwalis Wind Farm and other wind farms / generating plants, although the site will often remain energised, the export of power is curtailed to zero during these periods. Such a reduction occurred within the Western Power Network during the months of May, June, July and August, which subsequently affected Alltwalis.
These works are often outside of the control of Statkraft. It should be noted that it is in the financial interest of Statkraft to have the turbines turning as much as possible.
For more information on how turbines operate under different wind conditions, please follow this link and click the 'Try it yourself' button.
Wind turbines, and other forms of renewable power, are given financial support through the Renewables Obligation (RO) system. This system was put in place by the Government in order to provide incentives for firms to invest in renewable technology and to enable renewables to compete against other more polluting forms of energy generation whilst this new sector is still in its infancy. The RO system provides support only whilst Alltwalis Wind Farm is generating.
This system also supports other forms of renewable energy generation and accounts for just over 3% of an average energy bill. The amount paid to wind energy generators through the RO was reduced in the last year and is expected to come down further in the coming years as the cost of onshore wind gradually decreases. This can be compared to the large price increases seen in the last decade and particularly within the past few weeks in the price of natural gas.
Since 2005 the price of wholesale gas has more than doubled from 1 p/kWh to 2.2 p/kWh* and this has fed into the large increases in domestic fuel bills. The last few years have also seen huge fluctuations in the price of natural gas, increased use of renewables can go some of the way toward protecting the consumer from these volatile changes in price.
*'Energy Prices', House of Commons Library research note, November 2012
Unfortunately Statkraft is not a supplier of electricity in the UK and so cannot provide local homes with electricity directly from the wind farm and also therefore cannot provide discounted electricity. However the Alltwalis Community Benefit Fund is happy to be in a position to offer grants for groups wanting to develop micro-renewables projects in the local area. The community fund has already provided solar panels at the Neuadd Eglwys Cymunedol Llanllwni, the Cylch Meithrin Llanllwni and the Old School in Alltwalis.
Statkraft will continue to encourage the Community Benefit Fund to make the best use of its funds and to look into supplying more buildings in the future. However, the final decision rests with the Community Benefit Fund.
Since its commissioning in 2009, Statkraft has worked closely with many local residents, the local council and the wind turbine supplier Siemens to respond to noise complaints and rectify the issues initially identified. Actions have included a number of turbine retrofits, operation modifications on the wind farm and a faulty gearbox being changed in 2011.
Since then Statkraft has successfully shown to the local council and the Welsh Government that Alltwalis Wind Farm is operating within its allowed noise limits.
We are committed to being a good neighbour and continue to keep the situation under review and are working closely with the wind turbine manufacturer and the local council. If you have concerns about the operating conditions and noise limits permitted at Alltwalis Wind Farm, you should contact the local council. In addition, our 24 hour community hotline remains in operation and we can be contacted on: 0845 262 0159.
Despite a large number of studies into this issue both the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the House of Commons Library hold the view that a constructed wind farm has no effect on house prices. It has been observed at times that the announcement of the wind farm or the construction process can have an effect on house prices but this effect is not observed in the long term once the wind farm is constructed.
Wind Turbine Syndrome ("WTS") is an alleged condition proposed by paediatrician and anti-wind farm campaigner Dr Nina Pierpoint. Her study cited a wide range of physical symptoms found in a sample of 10 families whom she had pre-selected. Her findings formed the basis of a self-published book but were never published in a single peer reviewed medical journal.
WTS is not accepted by the medical community - commenting on the study the NHS said:
"This study provides no conclusive evidence that wind turbines have an effect on health or are causing the set of symptoms described here as "wind turbine syndrome". The study design was weak, the study was small and there was no comparison group."
Wind turbine sound and health
Wind Turbine Syndrome Review
To learn more, check out Renewable UK's website: www.renewableuk.com