TWO 130-metre-high wind turbines have been installed in Oakdale – the first commercial wind farm to open with the co-operation of a Welsh council.

The turbines, with 50-metre blades, are among the largest in Wales and are the first commercial installation of the new model Senvion MM100 turbines in Europe.

Part of the Oakdale Business Park built on the former Oakdale Colliery, they are expected to power the equivalent of 2,400 homes (10 gigawatt-hours) per year, an annual CO2 emissions saving of around 4,400 tonnes.

The 400-acre brownfield site was once used as a mine, employing almost 2,000 people in its heyday. But the decline in coal mining fortunes forced its closure in 1989 after 81 years in operation.

Alun Davies AM, Welsh minister for natural resources and food, officially launched the project yesterday.

Currently the turbines feed directly into the National Grid. It is thought they may soon power some of the nearby businesses via a private wire.

The project was the result of developer Partnerships for Renewables and Caerphilly County Borough Council working together.

The council said it put no money into the development, with Partnerships for Renewables entering into a 25-year lease agreement with them to rent the land on which the two turbines are located. “We would not disclose the amount as this is in commercial confidence,” a council spokesman said.

Partnerships for Renewables will also give £10,000 of funding per year to local projects as long as the wind farm is operating.

Councillor Ken James, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and sustainable development with Caerphilly, said: “Working with our partners and the wider community we have been able to embrace an alternative, more environmentally friendly way to produce energy.

“We are committed to making the Caerphilly County Borough a greener place to live, work and visit.”

This is the second installation Partnerships for Renewables has completed, following the launch of a site at Standford Hill prison in Kent last year.

Stephen Ainger, chief executive of Partnerships for Renewables, said: “Onshore wind is not only the cheapest form of renewable energy but can deliver significant economic benefit to local communities.

“We hope our Oakdale scheme will act as a beacon for other public/private partnerships, helping Wales to deliver its renewable energy ambitions.”