University seeks views on wind turbines

20 January 2015

Aberystwyth University is investigating the feasibility of generating its own wind energy with three wind turbines.  As a way of meeting its sustainability targets, and minimise future energy costs, the University is undertaking a feasibility study to establish what the planning and business requirements would be. 

If constructed, the three 250 kilowatt turbine Aberystwyth University Sustainable Future project could generate enough electricity to meet up to ten per cent of the University’s current annual electricity needs, and save the University a significant predicted amount in running costs over the 20 year life of the turbines.

The University has submitted a screening opinion to Ceredigion County Council to request further information on the requirements for developing the scheme.

The University will hold a three-week consultation with Aberystwyth students, residents and staff, starting with a public exhibition from 7pm on Wednesday, January 28th.

The project, which would cost about £2.5m, would also help protect the University from future increases in energy costs, help to ensure security of supply, assist in meeting targets to reduce carbon emissions and provide a teaching resource for students to access as part of their studies.

Rebecca Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “Developing the turbines will help the University to make significant savings on its energy bills, which in turn helps us to provide an enhanced student experience.

“Our requirement for energy and the price of electricity are both rising. Generating our own renewable, carbon-neutral energy is a fantastic way of helping the University meet both of these challenges over the coming years. It makes economical and environmental sense.

“The turbines would form part of a wider commitment from the University to save energy and reduce our carbon emissions. This includes investment in insulation, energy-efficient boilers and heating systems, low energy lighting, photovoltaic panels and solar thermal technology.”

If constructed, the turbines would be located in two sites owned by the University; one on land adjacent to the A487 at the Penglais Student Village development approaching Aberystwyth, and two on land opposite Gogerddan Campus adjacent to the A4159.

The turbines would measure 30m in height to the hub, with a total height of 45m to the tip of each blade. The project is anticipated to generate a significant saving over the lifespan of the development, based on current energy prices.

Members of the public are invited to find out more about the project at the foyer of the university’s Old College site from January 28th to 6th February, at the Students’ Union from February 9th to 13th, and at the foyer of IBERS, Gogerddan Campus from 16th  to 20th  February 2015. A member of the Aberystwyth University Sustainable Future team will be available to talk to members of the public about the project from between 12 noon and 2pm at each location.

Rebecca Davies added: “We want to engage with people from the student community, Aberystwyth town, and the wider Ceredigion area on this proposal. We want to hear views on the plans and invite individuals to take part in our consultation that runs for the next three weeks.

“This will give everybody an opportunity to find out more about the plans and understand what it entails. University staff will be on hand to share some details regarding the project.”

Once feedback from Ceredigion County Council on the Screening Opinion is returned, and taking account of the feasibility study, the University may submit planning applications for the two sites in the Spring. A decision from Ceredigion County Council’s planning committee is anticipated in the Autumn, and if positive, a proposed start date for the project’s construction can begin in Spring 2016.

Information on the turbines can also be found on the University’s website. Members of the public keen to share their views on the plans can also email.