Medtech firm Convatec multi-million-pound renewable energy project plans at south Wales site

Medtech company Convatec has revealed plans for a multi-million-pound green energy hub to help power its south Wales operation. The FTSE 100 firm, which employs 800 in Wales where it also has a medical dressings factory in Deeside, said the hub in Rhymney would be adjacent to its existing site.

In partnership with local farmers the investment would see three wind turbines, with blade heights of 150 metres, and around 10 hectares of solar panels. In total, it would provide energy generating capacity of up to 20MW with 25 years of operational life. Convatec said the investment could cost between £15m to £20m.

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As the proposed energy capacity of the hub exceeds 10 MW, it is being considered as a development of national significance (DNS) by the Welsh Government. Following a live public consultation exercise that will run up to the end of May, Convatec will submit plans to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales PEDW.

Following its own public consultation, PEDW will then make a recommendation to the Welsh Government. However, whatever the recommendations of the planning inspector, the final decision will rest with Welsh Government ministers.

As with all DNS applications, a community benefits fund forms part of the project, with Convatec exploring how a fund of around £75,000 per year could best be used to deliver projects in Rhymney.

Matthew Cornish, Rhymney interim plant director, said: “Convatec has been in Rhymney for almost 40 years, providing high quality jobs to over a hundred people.

“Transitioning our operations to clean, green locally produced energy will improve our resilience, ensuring we can continue to produce our world leading medical products that positively touch the lives of people with chronic illness on a daily basis, over the long-term here in Rhymney.

“We are committed to supporting our local community and look forward to further engaging with neighbours, stakeholders and local businesses to continue the process of identifying opportunities for working together to achieve positive community focused outcomes.”

Subject to approval work would start next year with the turbines and solar panels generating energy in 2026. Around 90% of the operation’s direct electricity needs could be met, and potentially more with the addition of storage technologies.

By displacing gas with electrical heating systems, a significant amount of its heat energy requirement could also become self-generated from clean wind and sun.

With energy savings created Convatec said a return on its investment would likely be achieved after ten years. It is also exploring how surplus energy could be used by neighbouring local businesses and community organisations.

In 2022 some 840,000 patients were treated with Welsh-manufactured Convatec dressings in the UK, while 3.3 million dressings were sold in Wales alone.

Globally, the firm has nine manufacturing plants. Its medical products and solutions are sold in almost 100 countries. Headquartered in Reading it has a global workforce of 10,000.