Recently, I wrote to Sir Peter Gershon, Chair of National Grid about the Mid Wales Connection Project. Reprinted it below. Together with a reply from a Hedd Roberts. Sir Peter could not be bothered to reply himself. Must admit I didn’t expect him to. Far to grand for that. Thought I should share this. Tells you all you need to know about National Grid.
11 January 2018
Sir Peter Gershon
National Grid plc
Dear Sir Peter,
I have written to you previously, (the 23rd June 2015) about National Grid's proposal to build a new 40 kilometre 400kv power line from North Shropshire, along the lovely Vyrnwy Valley, to Cefn Coch in the heart of my constituency of Montgomeryshire. I had communicated with you about this proposed development before that date, and also afterwards in 2016 about the lack of transparency in National Grid’s dealings with me and my constituents. It is a proposal which has caused great distress to me and to many of my constituents. It continues to cause distress. In every instance, you have refused to engage with my concerns.
It was already clear when I wrote two and a half years ago, that there was very little likelihood of significant onshore wind development going ahead in Mid Wales in the foreseeable future, following the policy position adopted by the then newly elected Conservative Government. Nothing has changed, though I accept wind farm developers, driven by the profit motive and caring not about landscape or people, are determined to steamroller the people I represent.
In 2015, I wrote that during my forty years in public life, as a Council leader, Member of the National Assembly for Wales and as a Member of Parliament representing Montgomeryshire, National Grid’s proposals to build the Mid Wales Connection Project are much the most distressing and divisive issue I have faced. It has divided the communities, land owners and families. At a personal level nothing has caused me such worry or so many sleepless nights. I always believed that such a socially and environmentally destructive proposal was a dreadful mistake. As well as the great uncertainty and impact on property values caused by this proposal, it has turned the people of Mid Wales against renewable energy, and caused great damage to the reputation of National Grid. As MP for Montgomeryshire, I have supported local groups opposing the scheme. Powys County Council listened to us. The UK Government listened to us. But not National Grid. I have found the response of your company to be quite shocking. I also believe that the Mid Wales Connection Project cannot possibly go ahead now.
By means of this letter, I plead with you to lift the threat in which Mid Wales is gripped by the Mid Wales Connection Project. Please lift the Sword of Damocles which National Grid has held aloft, over the heads of the people of Mid Wales for so long. I ask you as Chair of National Grid, beg you, plead with you to abandon this project at the earliest possible date, ending the threat of desecration to a lovely part of Wales, which has been hanging over the heads of the people of Montgomeryshire.
18 January 2018
Dear Mr Davies,
Thank you for your letter to Sir Peter Gershon of 11 January regarding work to connect the proposed wind farms in Mid Wales. As Head of Customer & Commercial for our Electricity Transmission Owner business, Sir Peter, has asked me to reply on his behalf.
We do fully appreciate the strength of feeling that you and your constituents have about the proposed wind farms and the new electricity transmission lines that would be needed to connect them. We also recognise the unfortunate uncertainty that is driven by the planning consent status of the wind farms.
As you know, where new generation wants to access the transmission system, we have an obligation to offer a connection. In 2015, the majority of the wind farm projects driving this specific project were refused planning consent. This led to one of the projects terminating their agreement with our customer, Scottish Power Energy Networks, whilst the other wind farm referred the planning consent decision to Judicial Review. At this point the UK Government decided to re-consider whether or not to grant consent on the remaining projects and has not yet announced its decision. This means that there is still significant uncertainty regarding the number of wind farms that will require a transmission connection.
We are unable to indicate a specific volume of generation that would trigger a 400kv solution, as the proposed windfarms cover such a large geographic area, the requirement is dependent not just on the total volume of generation seeking a connection, but also the location of the specific wind farm projects. We continue to work closely with Scottish Power Energy Networks in monitoring the situation.
We currently still have a contract with Scottish Power Energy Networks for a connection to our high voltage transmission network to accommodate the wind farms. As soon as we have clarity regarding how many and which wind farms have been approved for connection then we will be able to complete the necessary and confirm the preferred solution. As I am sure you will appreciate, if the need for the proposed connection is no longer there then National Grid will not be progressing with the planned connection.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Head of Customer & Commercial