National Grid has announced the route corridor and substation site needed to connect new wind farms in Mid Wales to the high voltage electricity network in Shropshire. Cefn Coch in Powys has been identified as the preferred area for the substation and the 'red north' route via Llansantffraid to Lower Frankton in Shropshire as the preferred route corridor.
Listening to local views has played an important part in this decision. National Grid has consulted extensively with local people and specialist bodies, and has weighed up issues such as landscape, flooding, heritage, ecology, tourism and transport. The selection also takes into account the proposed connections from the windfarms to the new substation by ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) and SSE Renewables (SSE).
It has not yet been decided how the connection will be constructed but, based on work so far, it is likely that a combination of both overhead lines and underground cables will be used. We will now carry out more work to identify the most appropriate technology for different parts of the route.
National Grid has listened to feedback that parts of the corridor in the Vyrnwy Valley could be particularly sensitive to an overhead line, and the company’s work found that there are areas where engineering and other challenges could make undergrounding difficult. National Grid has also listened to the feedback from specialist bodies on the effects of a connection in the Powys uplands. The company has therefore made some changes to the route corridor to provide more options for routeing the connection.
Over the next decade, the country must make the major investment needed to deliver energy security. This project is just one step towards meeting National Grid’s challenge to modernize and extend the country’s existing energy infrastructure to ensure reliable power supplies for the future and help meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets.
Jeremy Lee, lead project manager for National Grid said: “We’ve been very keen to listen to the feedback from local people, and for it to help shape our plans together with the further work we've carried out following our consultation. We believe the substation site and route corridor we've chosen will allow us to balance all the things we have to consider.
“We are at an early stage of this project and still have many decisions to make. We will carry on listening to local views and these will play an important role as our plans progress. We understand people have concerns about overhead lines, but where they are used, we will work hard to reduce any visual effects by routing the line carefully and using appropriate pylon designs which could include the new T-pylon.”
So people can find out more information about the selection of the preferred substation siting area and route corridor, National Grid will be holding a number of information events.