A decision on how to link windfarms in Mid Wales to the National Grid in Shropshire should be put off until the results of new research into the comparative costs of underground and overhead lines are published.
That was the call from rural affairs watchdog The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which is against using huge overhead pylons. The CLA said it was calling on the National Grid to hold fire.
The CLA believes the release of a preferred route and substation location should be delayed until a report comparing the cost of underground and overhead lines is finished.
The National Grid said at the weekend that the preferred route would be released in the winter, but no decision has been made on whether they will go over or underground.
The plans could see giant turbines built across the region, with a new substation either at Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, or Abermule, near Newtown.
Caroline Bedell, the West Midlands regional director of the CLA, said a report commissioned by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was due to be published by the end of 2011.
She said the report would provide an independent point of reference to help evaluate planning applications for new high voltage transmission connections.
According to the National Grid, it can cost 10 times more for underground rather than overhead lines – and it has warned that the bill would have to be passed on to customers.
But Mrs Bedell said that ‘outdated and outmoded research and development’ was being used to calculate the cost. She said: “We believe the National Grid is looking at a number of places in North Shropshire.
“Its costings are based on a historic model of oil-filled cables and large cooling mechanisms which have more or less remained unchanged since the 1950s.”
Mrs Bedell said more research had to be done into the alternative high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission and believed people would be prepared to pay ‘a bit more’ to ensure cables were underground, but said the National Grid should meet the cost.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding