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  Date: 23rd November 2004
  Subject: Mike O'Brien celebrates first year of successful generation at North Hoyle

Today, at the European Wind Energy Association Conference held in Wembley Mike O'Brien, Energy Minister, cut a cake to celebrate the first birthday of npower renewables1 North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm2.

O'Brien said, "I am delighted to mark a year's successful operation of the UK's first major offshore wind farm and I look forward to the continuing development of this exciting industry."

In November 2003, the groundbreaking North Hoyle project was launched in London by Stephen Timms MP, with a message from the Rt Hon Tony Blair and results from a recent public opinion survey3 shows that it has been well received locally.

Headline results from the survey show that since construction has been completed, support for the project has increased with 73% of residents saying they are in support compared with 62% before the wind farm was constructed. Just 5% of residents say they oppose the project.

Stephen Bolton, manager of the North Hoyle project said, "We are delighted to celebrate one year of generation with the news that the wind farm has been so well accepted by local communities. It's interesting to note that the survey results are wholly consistent with our experience of previous surveys undertaken at our operating onshore wind farm sites and that of Embrace4, where typically around 70% of local residents support the project once it is in place and generating clean electricity."

The results also revealed that the majority of residents (67%) believe there to be no effect on the number of visitors to the area and more people believe that there has been an increase in visitors as opposed to a decrease (11% compared to 4%). 82% of the visitors themselves believe that the wind farm has had no effect on the number of people visiting the area and none of those surveyed opposed the project.

A spokesperson for the Prestatyn and District Business Association explained their experience of the wind farm, "The comments from locals and tourists indicate that they find the sails fascinating and striking. Our opinion is that we now have a superb landmark, unique to our coast, which cost the town nothing. The benefits to Prestatyn are enormous in particular to our tourism. npower have put Prestatyn on the map!"

North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm generates enough clean electricity to meet the average annual needs of some 40,000 homes and is the current source of npower Juice4 - a domestic, non-premium, green electricity product developed in a pioneering partnership between npower and Greenpeace. Juice provides customers with a simple, practical way to help protect the environment - for every unit of electricity an npower Juice customer uses, a unit of clean, renewable electricity is fed into the electricity network.

Locally, npower renewables has been working with the Area Partnerships for Prestatyn and Rhyl to establish a process for managing the community fund which will be provided from the revenue of North Hoyle for the benefit of local projects. The fund totals 60,000 per year (index-linked) for the life of the wind farm. The formal process for applying for grants from the fund will be announced in the new year.

For further information contact:

  • Sara Alan-Smith, PR Officer, npower renewables
    T: 01189 59 2440

Editors Notes

  1. npower renewables is one of the UK's leading renewable energy companies dedicated to generating electricity using sustainable, environmentally-friendly resources. The company's operating portfolio comprises 1 offshore wind farm, 14 onshore wind farms, 11 hydroelectric stations and 3 power stations involved in co-firing biomass. For more information, please visit www.npower-renewables.com. npower renewables is sister company to npower, one of the UK's largest energy suppliers and is part of the RWE Group. For further information, please visit www.npower.com.
  2. North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm is the UK's first major offshore wind farm. The project was developed and is operated by npower renewables. It comprises 30 turbines with a combined maximum capacity of 60 megawatts (MW).
  3. Headline results from "North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm. Report from survey carried out by RBA Research on behalf of npower renewables". RBA was commissioned to carry out a survey among a cross-sectional sample of residents, and to get indicators of the views of non-residents who visit the area (for day trips, longer holidays, shopping, social/leisure purposes or work). This aimed to measure public opinion of the North Hoyle Wind Farm. A similar survey was carried out by RBA in March 2003, before the wind farm was in position, and this provided a baseline that results from this survey can be compared with. A total of 256 interviews were carried out among residents (200) and visitors (56) between 1st June and 16th June 2004. RBA is a member of the British Market Research Association.
  4. Embrace the Revolution is a campaign to give a voice to the majority of people in the UK who support wind energy, uniting those in favour of wind energy. Embrace the Revolution is run by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the trade and professional body for the UK wind industry. For further information please contact Lisa, Emma or Cheryl on 0207 403 2230 or contact www.embracewind.com.

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