Mid Wales

National Grid unveils potential Powys substation sites

Public consultation starts later this month into plans for a large new electricity substation in Powys.

Two potential sites at Abermule, near Newtown, and Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, have been earmarked covering about 19 acres.

The National Grid has said the electricity infrastructure needs upgrading in mid Wales to cope with new wind farms.

Forty-eight public exhibitions will be staged between 23 March and 6 May.

Work on the substation is expected to be finished by 2015, but the consultation process will help decide where it is built.

The substation will collect energy from 10 planned wind farms, and a new 400,000 volt (400 kV) cable will take the power from the substation to the national transmission system.

The cable could be a new overhead power line, underground cables or a combination of the two. The National Grid is carrying out a study to find a potential routes for it.

Meanwhile, ScottishPower will start consulting with local communities on Thursday about plans to build three new feeder power lines and an as yet unknown number of pylons, about 26m (85ft) high, which will connect the wind farms in Powys to the substation.

But ScottishPower said the location of the substation would determine where it would place its pylons.

Concerns have been raised about the planned increase in their number. In 2008, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales claimed hundreds could be erected to carry power to the grid.

But the National Grid has argued that the current network for transferring power is limited in mid Wales, and with a new generation of more powerful wind turbines producing more electricity the infrastructure for delivering the energy requires upgrading.

'Minimise overall impacts'

National Grid project manager Peter Bryant said: "Electricity is an essential part of our lives and in the coming years the UK faces a major energy challenge.

"To meet emission reduction targets and replace ageing power stations, a new wave of lower carbon energy generation is needed. All of this new energy will need to be connected to the electricity transmission network and this will mean building new transmission infrastructure.

"We appreciate this is a significant development and we are committed to listening to the views of local people before we make any decisions about the location of the substation or the route corridor."

ScottishPower is proposing 132 kV feeder power lines.

Steven Edwards of ScottishPower Energy Networks said: "There are currently proposals for 700MW of new renewable energy generation from at least 10 wind farms in mid Wales.

"Rather than connecting each wind farm with an individual power line, we believe that the construction of three new lines in total will support all of the developments in the area and help to minimise overall impacts."

Residents will be sent details about National Grid's plans in the post.

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