A public inquiry into plans for the five windfarms could start on June 4 in Welshpool. The legal battle to stop the turbines being built on the hills of north Powys will be key in the fight to stop a power line and pylons being run across Shropshire countryside.
Campaigners against the pylons – which would stretch from an electricity sub-station at Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, to the National Grid's line at Frankton between Oswestry and Ellesmere – say without the windfarms the power line would be obsolete.
The Department of Energy called in the five applications, for windfarms at Llandinam, Llanbadarn Fynydd. Llanbrynmair, Llaithddu and Carnedd Wen along with a planning application for a power line from Llandinam to Welshpool.
They will all be the subject of one large planning inquiry in the summer.
Today the chairman of Conservation of Upland Powys, Alison Davies, said the group had been told the inquiry was likely to begin on June 4 and the group are calling for it to be held in premises in Welshpool.
She said the hearing was expected to last many months. The conservation body has until January 21 to put its draft objection in to the inquiry team.
"We will be linking up with other, more recently set up campaign groups to fight these windfarm applications," she said.
The campaigners will be employing a barrister to put their objections and may have to bring in specialists to talk at the inquiry.
"This is going to cost us money and we need a legal fund to ensure that we win, Ms Davies said, adding: "These windfarms would have a massive effect on the area. People come to mid Wales and Shropshire for its beauty. They may not come if the area is full of windfarms and pylons."
By Sue Austin