National Grid is currently developing plans for a new 400,000 volt connection between the existing substation at Wylfa on the island of Anglesey and the existing electricity transmission network on the mainland in North Wales. Its North Wales Connection Project will also transmit power from the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station.
The original plan was to put the power cables in a tunnel. However, the feasibility study is looking at potential for the North Wales Connection Project and the Welsh government’s proposed third crossing to team up, using the bridge to carry National Grid infrastructure across the Menai Strait.
The study will consider timelines for delivery and also assess if it provides the best value. National Grid has an agreement with Horizon to provide the connection to Wylfa Newydd by the mid 2020s.
National Grid senior project manager Gareth Williams said: “The project could present challenges in terms of construction programme, cost and technical delivery and we will examine these to see if they can be overcome. In tandem, we’ll continue to move ahead with our current plans for a tunnel as our customer, Horizon, requires a connection by the mid 2020s. It will be vital that we deliver a reliable connection on time to unlock the billions of pounds of investment Wylfa Newydd will bring for North Wales.”
The government’s economy and transport secretary, Ken Skates, said: “The Welsh government has made known its ambition for a shared third Menai Crossing and this feasibility study will now examine in detail the potential opportunities, challenges and obstacles to making that vision a reality.
“Any solution must of course be fit for purpose, not only to deliver a safe electricity connection but to protect the environment around it and provide the best value for money for the taxpayer.
“We have held constructive discussions with National Grid to explore if a third Menai crossing could be utilised to carry power onto the national grid, including from the proposed Wylfa Newydd, and today’s announcement is a step forward establishing if this is possible.”