Just about landed back on earth again following the First Minister's 'Statement' about onshore wind farms in mid Wales last Friday. It astounded me, which is a rare event for this old hand. Keep on looking for the catch, and cannot find it. OK, so there's all this 'side issue stuff' about devolving extra powers to the Assembly, which the media is lapping up (despite it having been on the agenda for at least 10 years). But it cannot conceal the main issue. The Welsh Government will not support a 400kV cable on pylons into mid Wales - and there is no chance that an undergrounded cable can be justified, while Carwyn Jones sticks to a max of 500 Mw of new wind generation in the 3 mid Wales development areas. I'm a cynical old b***** but this looks good however which way I look at it. The overall 'project' looks to be in deep trouble - which is just where I like it.
Am a bit reluctant to commit to 'next steps' for a few days. Need to talk to National Grid, SP Energy Networks and my 'advisers'. But I have already called publicly for National Grid to abandon their plans to run a connection from mid Shropshire to mid Wales. No doubt NG will consult Dep't of Energy and Climate Change for guidance on this. My advice (for what it's worth)is "Listen to me boys" (in a non gender sense). If you and DECC go ahead with this when all of Wales is opposing you, and that's how it looks, you will precipitate a constitutional crisis. Just throw darts at a photograph of Carwyn, and bite the bullet. Smell the coffee. Your plan to industrialise the mid Wales uplands is over.
Of course, there will still be plenty to argue about. There could easily be a wind farm that is economic running a 132Mw cable all the way to the Grid (that's onshore wind farm economics, or fantasy economics to the rest of us). But last Friday's Welsh Government 'Statement' will give the Local Planning Authority more confidence to refuse permission. There will still be a rumpus about the one big outstanding application at Llandinam that awaits decision, and which does have a licence to export electricity. Probably won't say much about this issue for a week or so - when future strategy has been decided. I talk about something else.