The UK faces a major challenge with increasing demands for energy at a time when ageing power plants are closing and there is an urgent need to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions. To meet this challenge, the UK and Welsh Governments are seeking to cut emissions and increase new low carbon energy generation.
North Wales has been identified as an important location for new renewable energy generation. Four wind farms were originally proposed for Strategic Search Area A – one of the seven areas identified in the Welsh Government’s Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8: Planning for Renewable Energy. The planned wind farms were Clocaenog Forest (developed by RWE npower renewables), Brenig (Brenig Wind Ltd), Nant Bach (Vattenfall) and Derwydd Bach (Tegni). During the examination of SP Manweb’s application, developers Vattenfall and Tegni decided not to continue with their developments. The North Wales Wind Farm Connection is still needed to connect the Clocaenog Forest and Brenig wind farms.
SP Manweb has a legal duty as the distribution network operator in North Wales to connect new sources of electricity to the network. We have identified that the most appropriate point of connection is SP Manweb’s existing substation at St Asaph.
The Project involves the construction of a new 132 kilovolt (kV) overhead line connection between the Clocaenog Forest area in Denbighshire to a terminal pole to the south of Glascoed Road, B5381; together with required accesses, construction laydown areas and other integral works. The line will be built on wood poles for the length of the route.
Between 20 March 2014 and 28 June 2014, SP Manweb carried out statutory pre-application consultation on the North Wales Wind Farms Connection Project. A Development Consent Order application for the project was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 20 March 2015.
On 28 July 2016, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy granted development consent to SP Manweb for the North Wales Wind Farm Connection – Option B route under section 114 of the Planning Act 2008.
The decision by the Secretary of State was subsequently challenged and in April 2017 a judicial review was held. On 6 May 2017, the judicial review was dismissed and the Development Consent Order stands in its original form.
More information on the Development Consent Order can be found here.
Construction of the connection will start in June 2017 and you can find more information about the construction programme and the progress of work at www.spenergynetworks.co.uk