The media spotlight was turned onto the Pen Y Cymoedd Wind Energy project, currently under construction by a 50:50 joint venture of Jones Bros and Balfour Beatty.
Journalists toured the site of the largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales, as developer Vattenfall announced two further contracts for Welsh suppliers.
Express Reinforcements of Neath has been sub-contracted to provide the steel systems for the turbine bases to the joint venture.
And Prysmian Cables of Wrexham was awarded the contract to supply the cable network that will link project to the electricity grid.
Since planning of the project began, Vattenfall has worked to encourage as many local firms as possible to bid for contracts and sub contracts.
The joint venture’s contribution includes a commitment to supporting employment and skills in the region, with two-thirds of all plant operatives recruited from within 30 miles of the site. Six apprentices have also been hired to date, in roles including plant operation and maintenance.
Speaking on behalf of the joint venture, Huw Jones, managing director of Jones Bros said: “The joint venture itself is working hard to engage the skills and resources available in the area.
“This includes employing local plant operators and apprenticeship opportunities, as well as contracts for companies like Express Reinforcements.”
After 12-months of a four-year construction £45m of contracts have been placed by Vattenfall with Wales-based businesses. So far, more than 51 companies and more than 600 jobs in Wales have been supported by the project. The project is expected to be worth up to £1 billion to the Welsh economy over its 25 year life time.
Pen y Cymoedd is in an area of Welsh Government woodland estate between Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf counties.
The Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Edward Davey, commented on the development and the local economic benefits it is delivering. He said:“This onshore wind project will be the largest in England and Wales and will send a clear signal about this Government’s commitment to the industry. It will add to our energy mix that is tackling climate change and boosting energy security through moves to increase ‘homegrown’ sources.”
The Pen y Cymoedd project will benefit neighbouring communities through its Community Fund of around £1.8m a year.
The joint venture’s work is due be completed in August 2015, with the overall project scheduled for completion in Spring 2017.