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National Grid’s consultation generates 6,500 responses

National Grid’s first phase of consultation on plans to connect proposed new wind farms in Powys to the national transmission network in Shropshire generated over 6,500 responses from members of the public and other stakeholders.

National Grid’s first phase of consultation on plans to connect proposed new wind farms in Powys to the national transmission network in Shropshire generated over 6,500 responses from members of the public and other stakeholders

Feedback is being analysed and National Grid expects to make an announcement on which substation siting area and route corridor it will take forward to the next phase of consultation in winter 2011/2012.

Lead Project Manager, Jeremy Lee, said: “We are extremely pleased with the high level of participation during this first phase of consultation and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to take part and submit feedback. It’s important that all of this feedback is analysed and considered as it will help inform our decision on which substation siting area and route corridor will be taken forward to the next phase of consultation.

“We’d hoped to make that announcement this autumn. However, following the amount of detailed feedback we have received and the announcements made by the Welsh Government regarding renewable energy in Wales, it is likely that we will not be able to do this until winter 2011/2012.

“The Welsh Government’s Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8 – the document which details plans for onshore wind generation in Wales – provides technical planning advice on renewable energy in Wales and is taken into account by local planning authorities when they are preparing development plans, as well as by developers of renewable energy projects. TAN 8 does not provide guidance on transmission connections, but we are working with the Welsh Government, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and wind farm developers, and will take account of any subsequent changes that developers might make to their proposals as a result of these statements, and any changes to planning guidance.

“We are continuing to move forward with our proposals and consultation to connect the planned wind farms to the national transmission network, but will continue to liaise with the Welsh Government, DECC and wind farm developers to understand what these statements mean for our proposals now and in the future.

“We fully recognise the high levels of interest in the project and that people are keen to know which route and substation area will be taken forward as soon as possible, but it is important to allow time for feedback and government guidance to be considered before moving to the next stage.

“A number of developers are proposing to build wind farms in Mid Wales. Power from each of these wind farms will ultimately need to be connected to the national transmission network.”

National Grid’s proposals involve the development of a new substation, which will collect power from the wind farms, and a new transmission connection that will take that power to the national transmission network.

Two substation siting areas have been identified in the areas of Abermule and Cefn Coch (Powys). Only one substation will be built and during the first phase of consultation, and the public was asked for its views on each of the locations.

National Grid also presented 10 route corridor options in which the new connection could be built and also asked for the public’s feedback on these. No decision has been made on whether the connection would be overhead, underground or a combination of the two.

A number of exhibitions in the first phase of consultation were held jointly with ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN). SPEN will be responsible for taking power from the wind farms to National Grid’s substation and was consulting on its own route corridor options.
Lee adds: “Much of the feedback we received was very detailed and included comments on the substation, route corridor options and people’s views on whether the connection should be made overhead or underground. All this feedback is being carefully considered. We will also continue to work closely with our colleagues at ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) to ensure we consider the results of their consultation in deciding what substation siting area and route corridor we will take forward. Following the announcement in winter 2011/2012, we will hold a further round of public consultation which will be widely publicised and which will allow people to comment on and influence our proposals as they develop.”

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