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  6. Welsh wind farm debate hots up

Welsh wind farm debate hots up

The Welsh Government has intervened in the growing row over wind farm developments in parts of the Principality which will need new overhead power lines.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has complained that too many turbines are being proposed in the area of mid Wales the devolved administration has earmarked for large wind farms under its policy set out in Technical Advice Note (TAN 8). He has also voiced concern over the height of the planned pylons.

He has urged the UK Government to respect Welsh concern over the issue when the renewable energy National Policy Statement is finalised and ministers decide individual wind farm projects.

Jones has argued that the indicative capacities set out in TAN 8 should be regarded as the upper limits for approvals for new capacity.

Jones has also raised the issues with both National Grid and Ofgem and called for less intrusive transmission proposals including greater use of undergrounding.

Meanwhile, National Grid has denied claims by countryside and environmental groups that it is partly to blame for the postponement of an independent report into transmission costs, including those for undergrounding.

Groups led by the Campaign to Protect Rural England want decisions on new power transmission projects put on hold until there has been a detailed independent assessment of costs.

The groups accused National Grid of hampering what was meant to be a definitive study by withholding data from the researchers, the international energy consultancy KEMA.

However, National Grid has insisted it provided “detailed costs” to KEMA. “We understand that insufficient data came from other parties”.

Read the Welsh Government news release.


Roger Milne

23 June 2011