3 January 2022
Reducing carbon impact at The Royal Mint, Llantrisant
Infinite has supplied, designed and built the infamous ‘Daffodil’ wind turbine on land adjacent to the Royal Mint in Llantrisant. It provides up to 10% of The Royal Mint’s energy demand of more than 40 MW per annum. The world’s largest Mint becomes the world’s GREENEST Mint.
In 2014, Infinite Renewables contacted The Royal Mint with a proposal to develop a wind turbine scheme on land adjacent to their site. The wind turbine would provide up to 10% of TRM’s high energy demand of more than 40MW per annum and enable the World’s largest Mint to become the world’s greenest Mint.
Discussions followed with the Procurement Category Manager for Special Projects at The Royal Mint (TRM), who was keen to explore the possibility of wind turbine development, to substantially reduce the energy costs and the carbon footprint of TRM.
Infinite’s standard business model was to fully fund a wind turbine scheme; taking all the planning risk and then providing the finance to get the consented site to financial close and install the turbine. TRM expressed an interest in providing the funding for the scheme once planning was obtained, and Infinite and TRM agreed to work in partnership.
The original planning application was for a 100m tall Vestas V80 wind turbine. The local Planning Authority (LPA) had concerns about many environmental aspects of the development such as the impact of noise and ecology, these were investigated; and mitigation solutions were found. However, the major issue was visual impact which was delaying application approval.
At a last-ditch meeting with the LPA, Infinite suggested that rather than trying to lower the visual impact, it would be beneficial to create something that people would want to see. Infinite suggested that painting the turbine in the colours of a daffodil (the national flower of Wales) could create an iconic landmark, similar to ‘The Angel of the North’ and ‘The Daffodil of the South’ was born. The LPA was keen to support the Daffodil concept as an attraction to tourism with the TRM agreeing that the Daffodil could help to publicise the proposed visitor centre. The Daffodil is a world first! As well as contributing to the energy and sustainable improvements of TRM, it should generate considerable media coverage and interest for their visitor centre and Rhondda Cynon Taff tourism.
The Daffodil was consented in June 2016, but an objection was then received from NATS at Cardiff Wales Airport because of potential disruption to the Airport Radar signal. This prompted a 12-month search for an acceptable solution. Mitigation measures were proposed and rejected and numerous meetings with NATS and Cardiff Airport proved unsuccessful. Eventually, by commissioning a number of aviation studies and reports, Infinite was able to convince NATS to allow the turbine to proceed at a much-reduced tip height of 59.75m
In order to achieve the required tip height and install a turbine of sufficient generating capacity to justify the investment, Infinite identified a second hand 850 kW wind turbine operating in the Netherlands that had been specifically developed with a shortened tower. The Vestas V52 still had a tip height of 61.5m which meant that the turbine site had to be substantially excavated to maintain the tip height of 59.75m AGL (above ground level). This required specialist civil engineering design to enable the installation to proceed.
The turbine was acquired, fully refurbished and sprayed with a specialist coating in the colours of a daffodil. The groundworks started in June 2018 – over four years since TRM and Infinite had formed it partnership.
Despite the numerous hurdles of this challenging project, working closely with the Procurement Category Manager for Special Projects and the team at TRM eventually paid off. The Daffodil will hopefully become an iconic landmark, contributing 10% of the energy demand of TRM and saving c467 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. This will help TRM to achieve its environmental objectives and position The Royal Mint as the ‘Greenest’ Mint in the world.