Celtpower, a private sector energy company, want to knock down the 103 wind turbines at the Llandinam Wind Farm in Montgomeryshire, and replace them with about 40 much bigger turbines. The electricity produced will increase from around 30 megawatts to between 90-126 megawatts. In order to transport this extra power to the National Grid, Celtpower has agreed a deal with Scottish Power which involves a new 12 mile, 132 kv cable from Llandinam to Welshpool - passing close to the village of Kerry. Unsurprisingly, the people who live near Kerry, whose properties lie close to the proposed new line, do not like it - do not like it one bit. Earlier tonight, I joined a meeting between representatives of Celtpower and some of the local objectors.
The issue is too complex to explain in a single post, but it boils down to a matter of timing. Celtpower has submitted a planning application for the new turbines, has asked Scottish Power to provide it with a connection to the National Grid (which it is obliged to do) and wants to get on with it - because it makes business sense. So we have this new 132 kv cable. Now if we could persuade Celtpower to wait about 5 years, it would probably connect to a new National Grid 'hub' near the village of Carno instead - and there would be no line going anywhere near Kerry. This is because National Grid in going to build a new (grotesquely hideous landscape-destroying) 400 kv cable from somewhere in Shropshire, up through one of Montgomeryshire's beautiful valleys to somewhere in the Carno area. Most of the other proposed wind farms that are going to despoil the landscapes of Montgomeryshire are going to have to await the new 400 kv cable (probably 2016) - but not Celtpower. The company does not want to wait. Personally, I do not blame it, or any of the landowners who accept the payments available. I blame the Assembly Government for creating what is a totally shambolic position. In 2004, it adopted a policy which encourages wind farms to be built in an area, even though there is no means of transferring the power to the Grid - epically stupid, even by Assembly Government standards. Its only now this shambles is being addressed. Kerry is one of the villages expected to pay the price.
In passing, another interesting point that I appreciated only tonight. Its obvious if you think about it. When the existing 103 turbines at Llandinam are removed, the huge blocks of concrete on which they stand will remain in place, and lots of huge new holes are going to be excavated and filled with hundreds on tons of new concrete to serve as bases for the new turbines (and these blocks are going to be the size of sports grounds). The old bases are not good enough. That's as much mental anguish as I can take for one night. For those of us who love the landscapes and countryside of Montgomeryshire, its all just too depressing.