A campaign is underway to convince power bosses to bury new high voltage electricity cables underground or at sea to protect the sensitive landscape of North Wales.
The National Grid will unveil plans within months to cope with rising transmission demands from new offshore wind farms and Wylfa B nuclear power plant on Anglesey.
The existing network from Anglesey to Deeside is being reassessed for the necessary upgrades to ensure the supply can reach the grid.
Countryside campaigners fear more 150ft high electricity pylons in the Snowdonia National Park, Anglesey or the Clwydian Range could hit the vital tourism economy.
First Minister Carwyn Jones wants the next 10 years to be the decade of energy for Wales to exploit natural resources for renewable power.
But tension is growing in the countryside over alleged “industrialisation of the uplands”.
More than 1,500 protesters thronged outside the National Assembly building in Cardiff Bay last week to demonstrate over increasing wind farm development in mid Wales.
Peter Ogden, director of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW), said: “We are very concerned about the possible impact of a second line network across North Wales.”
He argued that the case for an undersea cable “makes an awful lot of sense”.
National Grid estimated in the past that undergrounding of cables could cost between 12 and 17 times that of going overland.
But an independent study underway could give a more realistic estimate of the costs involved of burying cables, he said.
“We don’t have a problem with renewable energy. It’s a matter of doing it in the right scale and in the right place.”
North Wales Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach said: “North Wales needs to wake up and look at what is happening in Montgomeryshire.
“That’s going to happen here unless every local community, every community council gets involved.”
Sarah Medcalf, assistant director of the Snowdonia Society, said: “We are adamant there shouldn’t be any more overhead power lines in any of the national parks.” Martin Kinsey, National Grid senior project manager, said it had a responsibility to provide connections to the network for any major new electricity generation.
“We are looking into all of the options to connect the proposed new energy generation and will assess these from a technical, economic, environmental and social impact perspective.”
A consultation process with local communities would begin later this year and would be well publicised, he said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding