A feasibility study will be carried out to investigate whether a vital electricity connection could be carried on the proposed third Menai crossing.
National Grid is currently developing plans for a new 400,000 volt connection between the existing substation at Wylfa on Anglesey and the existing electricity transmission network on the mainland in North Wales. The project is known as the North Wales Connection Project and will also facilitate the export of power from the proposed Wylfa Newydd power station.
The joint study between the Welsh Government and National Grid will look at any potential opportunities between the North Wales Connection Project and the Welsh Government’s proposed third crossing utilising the bridge to house National Grid infrastructure in order to cross the Menai Strait.
Should there be a feasible solution, the study will look at 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.
The feasibility study agreement will be funded through the £3m design and development stage of the third crossing which is part of the two-year budget agreed by the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
The consultation looking at four possible options for a third Menai crossing closed on 9 March and all responses are currently being evaluated.
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.
“The third Menai Crossing is a huge investment project which has the potential to make a big difference in supporting the needs of communities and visitors, tackling congestion issues and providing a boost to the economy.
“The Welsh Government has an ambitious programme for transport improvements over the coming years and a third crossing over the Menai Strait is a key part of our plans.”
Gareth Williams, Senior Project Manager, National Grid said:
“We are pleased to be working with Welsh Government to look at the possibility of placing cables to connect Wylfa Newydd over the proposed third crossing of the Menai Strait. 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.”