UK Approves First South East Onshore Wind Project

The Kent region of the UK is set to make a major contribution to the advance of commercial wind power with the government’s green light for a wind farm on Romney Marsh.

The decision by Malcolm Wicks, the UK’s Energy Minister, to grant Section 36 Consent for npower renewables’ Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm comes three years after the initial proposals were unveiled. The wind farm, which will be built on arable farmland on Romney Marsh, will have 26 wind turbines. Taking the project forward will involve selecting a suitable manufacturer to supply the turbines, which will be up to 116 meters in height (including the blades) and capable of generating two to three MW each, depending on the model selected. This will give the project a total capacity of between 52 MW and 78 MW. “Once built, Little Cheyne Court will make a significant contribution towards the Government’s renewable energy targets, both nationally and in the South East, which, up to now, has had no major onshore wind energy sources,” said npower renewables’ managing director, Kevin McCullough. Since proposals for a wind farm at Little Cheyne Court were first announced in 2002, the plans have been subject to extensive public consultation and scrutiny, culminating in a Public Inquiry that concluded in January 2005. The Public Inquiry heard evidence from interested parties including Kent County Council, Shepway District Council, npower renewables, English Nature, the RSPB, Greenpeace, the Green Party and Friends of the Earth — as well as more than 100 letters of support from local residents. Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm will cost an estimated GBP 50 million (USD $88.4 million) and local businesses are likely to be well placed to secure construction-related contracts. npower renewables said they would also establish a community fund in excess of GBP 50,000 (USD $88,400) per year to contribute towards local community, environment and educational purposes.
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