Onshore wind energy
For onshore wind farms, concrete is already the established material of choice for foundations, either to form gravity structures or pile caps. For towers, the foreseeable trend is for increasing height, supporting higher powered, longer-bladed turbines, many of which may be located at remote or less accessible sites. The consequence of taller towers is the need for increased structural strength and stiffness required to cope with challenging turbine weights and bending forces under wind action. In turn this will require larger cross-sectional diameters, which may introduce significant transportation problems; bearing in mind that 4.5m is the practical diameter limit for complete ring sections on public highways.
Concrete towers can cost-effectively accommodate these requirements as well as offering a range of other associated benefits. Already, many leading wind power companies have realised the benefits of concrete and offer precast or in-situ concrete tower solutions.
Pant-y-Wal wind farm
Pant-y-Wal wind farm, located to the north of the village of Glynogwr aims to provide sufficient energy to power around 12,500 homes. The project started in October 2015 and was completed in February 2016 and involved the supply of concrete for the construction of seven wind turbine bases, each consisting of approx. 350m3.