Energy policy, in particular electricity provision, is a key issue not only on a global scale but on a local scale as well. We in Ceredigion need to take interest in the debate on the National Grid connection happenning in Montgomeryshire at the moment. Its conclusion will have an effect on our enegry security in Ceredigion.
Some background to begin with, high voltage electricity transmission is more efficient than lower voltage transmission thus the closer the presence of high voltage 400kV lines the more reliable and efficient electricity supply will be. The closest 400kV lines to mid Wales are near Swansea, at Trawsfynydd and at Shrewsbury. Coastal areas in Ceredigion are about as far as you can go from major power lines and the local network is particularly vulnerable.
It is unfortunate that the debate has married the TAN 8 wind farms with a better national electricity grid, they should be divorced. None of the wind farms will be built without the new 400kV connections since the generated energy has to be exported and the new grid has to be paid for. Its a real connundrum, do we support new wind farms to get a better grid connection? or do we oppose wind farms and live with possible electricity poverty? No one wants large pylons neither do we fancy losing our electricity supply. One solution may be to bury the cables but the additional cost will in all probability be added onto our supply bills. Another solution is to use locally generated electricity to supply local needs, the problem here is that renewable and hydro electricity generation in Ceredigion is essentially seasonal and a recipe for poverty at certain times of the year.
It is so iportant to watch this debate and intervene when required. No doubt we shall come back to this in the near future.