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From planning approval to fully operational in under a month

Despite seemingly impossible deadlines and atrocious weather conditions, the Castell Llwyd turbine in south Wales went from planning approval to installation and commissioning in just 25 days.

Various delays in the planning process meant the project had lost the chance to be pre-accredited – allowing a 12-month period to complete. Rather than giving in to these circumstances, CleanEarth requested that an Extraordinary Council Meeting was convened, immediately prior to Christmas.

On 21st December, the Castell Llwyd turbine was approved and the real work started. As of 23rd December there was no electrical connection, no access, and no foundation. With the deadline for commissioning on 15th January it was all hands on deck throughout Christmas and New Year.

In case things weren’t already tough enough, the weather also decided to intervene. Storm force winds and a road-blocking landslide had the turbine tower trapped in Campbeltown for three days, and when it eventually made it to south Wales it was greeted by further gales and heavy rain – this period seeing one nearby village recording 75 consecutive days of rainfall.

Despite this, the foundations were laid between Christmas and New Year and finally, on 14th January, a weather window opened up with 12 hours of lighter winds that allowed the lifting team to get the turbine vertical and the blades installed. It was energised just 24 hours ahead of the deadline.

We generally work to timelines of weeks and months, not days, but this shows what can be achieved when we pull out all the stops. The never-say-die attitude of our contractors and the team at CleanEarth was something else. But I wouldn’t want every project to be like that!

Robbie Brady – Project Manager, CleanEarth

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