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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Windfarm map unveiled for Wales
wind turbines generic
Wind power is just one renewable energy source
Seven areas across Wales have been chosen by the Welsh Assembly Government for the development of wind farms.

The aim is to increase the amount of energy from renewable sources by 10% over the next five years.

There are around 400 turbines in Wales, and the strategy confirms areas across mid and south Wales for further development, first set out a year ago.

The boundaries were outlined during the consultation process, but are slightly smaller.

Environment Minister Carwyn Jones said he was confident that the planning framework was "appropriate for Wales and will enable us to meet our commitment to deliver four terawatt hours of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2010".

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said they would continue to work with local planners, the industry and other key groups "to ensure progress on implementation of our policy and to enable effective planning for renewable energy in all its forms".

The strategy outlines development in the following areas:

  • Clocaenog Forest, Denbighshire

  • Carno North, Powys

  • Newtown South, Powys

  • Nant-y-Moch, Ceredigion

  • Pontardawe, Neath Port Talbot

  • Coed Morgannwg, south west and south east Wales

  • Brechfa Forest, Carmarthenshire

Opponents argue that wind farms scar landscapes and do not generate sufficient power to justify their existence.

Opposition parties have accused the assembly government of concentrating too much on wind energy and neglecting other forms of renewable energy, such as solar and hydro power.

But Friends of the Earth Cymru said it "broadly welcomed" the announcement.

Gordon James, of the campaign group, said: "The only credible way of achieving this in the required timescale is mainly by means of onshore wind energy as this is the most technically advanced and cost-effective of the renewable energy options".

But he added that the organisation was concerned that the plan could be too restrictive and exclude good sites outside of the recommended areas.

At the moment, 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity is produced from renewable sources in Wales and another 1,000MW is needed to meet the target.

'Serious challenge'

The plan envisages that 200MW of this will come from off-shore wind farms, the other 800MW from on-shore wind farms. This will cost 700 million.

Joel Rawson, from the Centre for Alternative Technology, argued other generating systems, including solar and hydro power, should be explored in more detail.

"We would certainly like to see much more commitment made to the development of these sort of technologies because support needs to be given at this stage, in order for them to be ready in 10 years or so, to sit alongside windpower and make a coherent energy strategy," he said.

The All Wales Energy Group also said it thinks the assembly government is "pursuing the wrong technology" to meet its targets.

John Large, an independent energy consultant, said at least 600 wind turbines would be needed to replace just one power station.

"For the assembly government to aim to have 10% of its generation capacity by 2010/2020 is quite a serious challenge," he said.

"I'm doubtful they will be able to reach that."

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