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Byline: By Abby Alford South Wales Echo

A plan to build 20 wind turbines that would tower over Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty has been unveiled.

Energy company NPower Renewables want to build the windfarm at Pant-y-wal, which straddles the Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend county border.

Each turbine would be 125 metres or 410ft tall - more than three-and-a-half times the size of the turbines at the Taff Ely Windfarm, near Gilfach Goch.

NPower's project manager Tanya Davies said the windfarm, between Tonypandy and Ogmore Vale, would generate enough clean electricity each year to supply the average needs of at least 25,000 homes.

'And that's taking into account the time the wind doesn't blow,' she said.

She added that for each year the windfarm is operating - around 20 years - NPower will make pounds 50,000 to pounds 60,000 worth of 'community benefits' available, which could include anything from computers for schools to household energy efficiency schemes.

But anti-windfarm campaigner Marlene Thomas, 61, of Railway Terrace, Blaengarw, said: 'I am so disappointed.'

Earlier this year she helped win the fight against Amec Wind, which wanted to build a windfarm on the Werfa Mountain above Blaengarw and Nantymoel.

Mrs Thomas, who is also a Garw Valley community councillor, said she was very downhearted to hear of the new scheme and fears it will just be 'the tip of the iceberg'.

'For years the Valleys were scarred by mines which supplied iron and coal to the rest of the country.

'Now the Valleys will be desecrated once again in order to power Britain.'

Ms Davies said the windfarm would prevent the annual release of around 95,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

But Mrs Thomas said windfarms are not efficient electricity producers and need to be backed up by conventional power stations.

'Each side can quote figures, but the bottom line is that I am 100 per cent sure that wind power is not the answer,' she added. How tall will the turbines be?: Thirty-two metres or 104ft TALLER than the Statue of Liberty from the foundation of the pedestal to the torch.

Twenty-nine metres or 94ft TALLER than Big Ben.

Ninety metres or 296ft TALLER than turbines at Taff Ely Windfarm. What next?: More than 6,500 homes closest to the site will receive information leaflets this week.

Public exhibitions will follow. These will be held on Thursday, December 2, at the Life Centre in Nantymoel; Saturday, December 4 at Waun Wen Leisure Centre, Trebanog; Monday, December 6 at Cambrian Hall, Gilfach Goch.

NPower will submit an application for a test mast to be sited at Pant-y-wal after Christmas.

Full planning application to be submitted in the spring.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 15, 2004
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