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Wind farms

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The UK has a huge amount of wind resource and more offshore wind capacity than any other country in the world.

Renewable energy targets

Natural Resources Wales (external link) is helping us meet our renewable energy targets through our Wind Energy Programme.

Onshore and offshore wind energy

We need a mix of both onshore and offshore wind energy to meet our challenging climate change targets. At the moment onshore is more cost effective. Offshore wind farms take longer to develop because the sea is a more hostile environment.

If we only pursued offshore wind generation then we would be likely to miss our renewable energy targets and commitment to tackle climate change.

Here in Wales we are lucky enough to have good winds both on and offshore. We have offshore windfarms generating at Rhyl Flats, North Hoyle, and Gwynt y Môr.

Community Benefits

A study by Cardiff University called Wind Farm Development in Wales: Assessing the Community Benefits (external link) looked at 22 existing onshore wind farms and other projects under development. It said that the majority of Welsh onshore wind farms provide community benefits which are paid to a local community body. This is usually based on the number of MW (MegaWatts) installed.

Planning policy

The Welsh Government has identified seven areas in Wales which are considered the most appropriate locations for large scale onshore wind farm development. These areas are identified in Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8 and are referred to as Strategic Search Areas (SSAs). For smaller scale wind energy development, Planning Policy Wales requires Local Planning Authorities to plan positively for renewable energy development. Local Planning Authorities should undertake an assessment of their area’s potential for renewable energy generation and include policies to guide appropriate development in their Local Development Plan.


Planning applications for onshore wind farms, with an installed generating capacity of above 10 Megawatts (MW), are made directly to the Welsh Ministers, under the Developments of National Significance (DNS) process. Alterations to wind farms which increase capacity by at least 10MW are also a DNS project. Applications for wind energy developments under 10MW are determined, in the first instance, by Local Planning Authorities.


There is limited evidence that wind farms impact tourism in Wales. A study into the potential economic impacts of wind farms and associated grid infrastructure on the Welsh tourism industry was completed following a recommendation from the Environment and Sustainability Committee.