RWE opens biggest offshore wind farm in Wales

The Right Honourable Peter Hain, the UK’s Secretary of State for Wales, together with Dr. Juergen Grossmann, Chief Executive Officer of RWE AG, officially opened Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm in North Wales today.

The wind farm is situated five miles off the north Wales coast, in Liverpool Bay. With an installed capacity of 90 megawatts (MW), Rhyl Flats is the biggest Welsh power station producing energy from renewable sources. Its 25 wind turbines will power the equivalent of 61,000 households per year and save several tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions.

“RWE is moving at a fast pace with the development of wind energy and renewable energies. RWE Innogy is one of the fastest growing companies in this sector in Europe. We intend to have projects with a volume of 10,000 megawatts in operation by 2020 and are investing €1 billion per year”, Dr. Juergen Grossmann, CEO of RWE AG, emphasized.

Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “I would like to congratulate RWE npower renewables on the completion of Rhyl Flats, so far the largest offshore wind farm in Wales.“ He continued: “RWE npower renewables is the biggest developer and operator of renewable projects in Wales, setting an excellent example in the way it uses natural resources. In doing so, RWE makes an important contribution to climate protection and creates numerous jobs in the energy production industry.”

RWE Innogy invests around €1 billion each year in the development of renewable energy technology in Europe. Approximately 70% of these funds is used for the development of onshore and offshore wind farms.

Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO RWE Innogy, said: “It took just 14 months from the installation of the first monopile foundation to the trial operation of Rhyl Flats. This is a major achievement involving hundreds of people from within and outside the company. I am confident that with such an experienced and motivated team we will achieve RWE’s ambitious renewable energy growth targets.”

The offshore construction work at Rhyl Flats began in April 2008. In all, 25 Siemens wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6 MW, were mounted in an area of nearly four square miles. The foundation piles were sunk at a depth of around 50 feet.

RWE Innogy has been running the offshore wind farm North Hoyle (60 MW) off the Welsh coast since 2004. Only a few miles further south, the company is planning to build Gwynt y Môr Wind Farm which will have several hundred megawatts of installed capacity.

In addition, RWE Innogy has a 50% share in the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm which is located off the Suffolk coast. Following its completion in 2011, this wind farm will have a total capacity of 500 MW.

RWE Innogy is also planning to promote the offshore wind business off the continental European coast. In Belgium, the company is involved in building the Thornton Bank Wind Farm of which the first development stage, consisting of 30 MW, has already come on stream. RWE Innogy is currently developing two wind farms in the North Sea off the German coast, with 300 and 950 megawatts of installed capacity respectively.

RWE is one of the largest inward investors in Wales. The company provides around a third of Wales’ electricity, generated by seven onshore and two offshore wind farms; two Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plants; seven hydro-electric schemes and a 1500MW coal plant at Aberthaw in South Wales, where a carbon capture pilot plant is being planned.

RWE npower has begun construction of a £1bn, 2000MW, modern Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station at Pembroke. Through the Joint Venture ‘Horizon Nuclear Power’, RWE has also has begun investigating the potential for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey which could produce up to 3600MW of low carbon electricity. These investments would bring thousands of jobs and pump millions of pounds per year into the Welsh economy.

RWE currently employs more than 350 people in Wales. In 2004, it formed Warm Wales, an award winning partnership with local authorities, to tackle fuel poverty in Welsh homes. The company is working on the introduction of smart electricity meters, improving service and personal choice and helping accelerate the take-up of household ‘micogeneration’ technology.