Pylon Projects

There are a number of pylon projects across Wales which CPRW are aware of and campaigning against. We hope the below provides some clarity on the scope of the challenge we face to protect the Welsh landscapes and countryside.  There are many proposals for onshore wind farms, which then need lines of pylons, which then need new substations.  Once a substation is approved, typically they then attract battery parks and solar farms.  CPRW have a busy time ahead!

Our Trustee, Dr Jonathan Dean has written a summary below:

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET)

NGET have a project to link north to south Wales with a 400 kV double circuit pylon line from Pentir substation, near Bangor, to Swansea North substation.  These pylons would be ca 50 m high.
This is required to transmit energy coming from Scottish wind farms off the west coast to southern England.  There will be a subsea cable from Scotland to Pentir, then pylons through Wales.  The transmission grid in south Wales into England already has sufficient capacity.
The original plan in the 2020 Offshore Transmission Network Review was to link north and south Wales with an offshore cable from Wylfa substation on Ynys Môn to Pembroke substation.  However by the 2022 Accelerated Strategic Transmission Infrastructure report this had been changed, for reasons that are not fully clear to me.
We have heard a rumour it was at the request of the Welsh Government, who want to add transmission infrastructure to mid Wales to help develop onshore wind farms, but I have seen no definite proof and is my opinion.
Ofgem have granted NGET pre-construction funding, which will enable them to develop their ideas to a point where they can start to consult the public.
The route of this line is not yet known, despite me asking them numerous times.  As they will not get consent for pylons in Eryri national park they basically have two options:
  • along the north coast to Conwy, up the Conwy valley, past Bala then down to the Tywi valley to Swansea
  • across the top of Pen Llŷn to Porthmadog, subsea to near Aberystwyth then cross country to Swansea

It is my opinion that it is U.K. government policy to “hide” pylons in valleys, so as far as possible they will route the line in valleys rather than over hills and mountains.

They have produced a map that shows all their various projects, but for this project it just shows Pentir linking to Swansea, it does not indicate where the line will go.
As this is a 400 kV transmission project, it is not devolved and will be consented by the U.K. Secretary of State.

Green Generation Networks Cymru (GGC)

GGC are a subsidiary of Bute Energy who have about 20 projects across Wales to build onshore wind farms.  These are mainly in mid Wales where there is no transmission system for them to connect to.  GGC exists solely to connect Bute wind farms to the existing transmission system which they propose to do with a number of projects using 132 kV double circuit pylon lines.  These pylons would be about 30 m high.
They have the following projects:
  • Tywi Usk – this will start at their proposed Nant Mithil wind farm in the Radnor Forest and run down the Tywi valley to a new substation called Pont Abraham, that will be built at Llandyfaelog
  • Tywi Teifi – this will start at the proposed Lan Fawr wind farm and run along the Teifi valley then the Tywi valley to Llandyfaelog
  • Vyrnwy Frankton – this will start at the proposed Llyn Lort wind farm and run along the Vyrnwy valley into Shropshire  to a new substation that will be built at Lower Frankton (but being called Chirk)
As Tywi Usk and Tywi Teifi are totally in Wales they are devolved and will be consented by Welsh Ministers.  As Vyrnwy Frankton crosses the border it is not devolved and will be consented by the U.K. Secretary of State.
The routes of all these proposed lines are published on the GGC web site and initial public consultations have commenced, but no planning applications have been submitted yet.
Currently GGC do not hold a licence to operate any of these lines, but have applied to Ofgem for an independent distribution network operator (iDNO) licence.  Although being classed as “distribution”, none of these lines are to get power to customers, they are all to get power out to the grid.

National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED)

NGED are the distribution network operator (DNO) in south Wales.  They have a project to increase capacity in the Carmarthen area with a line from the new substation at Llandyfaelog.

Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN)

As far as we know, SPEN (the DNO in north Wales) have only two relatively small projects, one to replace lines in the Chirk area, the other to add a short line on Pen Llŷn.