Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Meetings on major power line plan

A wind turbine (library picture)
Mid Wales is home to hundreds of wind turbines

The first of three public meetings is taking place about plans for 350, 49ft (15m) tall electricity pylons through rural areas of Powys.

The overhead line is planned from a wind farm in Llandinam to a sub-station in Welshpool 22 miles (35km) away, and is needed to meet energy demands.

Drop-in sessions and meetings are being held in Dolfor and Kerry, near Newtown.

Scottish Power, the company behind the project, has a preferred route for the line but there is opposition to it.

The current network for transferring power to the National Grid is limited in mid Wales, and with a new generation of turbines producing more electricity the infrastructure for delivering the energy requires upgrading.

Plans are for a 400,000 volt cable capable of carrying all of the power, but with no agreement in sight Scottish Power is proposing its own new 132,000 volt overhead cable.

Electricity pylons (library picture)
Pylons transfer power from wind farms to the National Grid

The firm is holding "drop-in" sessions with residents in Dolfor between 1400 and 2000 GMT on Wednesday.

A public meeting will be staged in Kerry on Thursday at 2000 GMT, and the preferred route will be displayed between 1800 and 2000 GMT in the village on Friday.

Six other public exhibitions along the route were held in July and August, said Scottish Power.

Plans to replace existing wind turbines at Llandinam with larger, more powerful versions were unveiled earlier this year.

But delivering the power generated to a sub-station has resulted in residents forming action groups.

One of the objectors, Michelle Lloyd from Kerry said: "One of these routes runs alongside the ancient Kerry Ridgeway and past two wind monitoring masts for future wind farm sites.

"All of the routes cross beautiful unspoiled rural landscape and pass hazardously close to family homes at times."

In November, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales warned of a big jump in the number of electricity pylons covering mid Wales to cope with energy generated from planned new wind farms.

It claimed 400, 262ft (80m) pylons could be erected to carry 400,000 volts to the National Grid.

Obligation

But the National Grid said plans were at an early stage.

In the meantime, Scottish Power said it had an obligation to connect customers to the network.

A company spokesman said: "We are keen for people to attend (the meetings) and put forward their views.

"Following this exercise and feedback, a finalised route will be put forward in February next year for more detailed environmental assessment and then included in a submission for planning consent in July 2009."

According to Powys council, there are currently nine planning applications for wind farms in the county.

An assembly government spokesman said seven areas across Wales designated for wind farm development, known as TAN 8, meant the electricity grid would need reinforcing to meet "renewable energy aspirations".

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