An overhead power line and an energy-from-waste facility have become the first two projects to be formally submitted to the government’s Infrastructure Planning Commission.
Power Distribution handed in plans for a 132,000 volt overhead electricity line to connect Maesgwyn wind farm in Banwen, Neath, to the national grid.
The other submission is from Covanta Rookery South for an energy-from-waste and materials recovery facility with a 65 MW output in Rookery South, Bedfordshire.
The IPC has 28 days to decide whether to accept or reject the submissions, based on a range of considerations including the level of public consultation undertaken by the applicant.
If accepted, an application will then be examined by IPC commissioners - a process that includes more public input and hearings - with a decision on consent to be given within 12 months.
This would give the body just enough time to make a decision before it is disbanded.
The IPC was established on 1 October 2009 by the previous government to allow central decisions on major infrastructure projects.
It opened to receiving applications from the transport and energy sectors in March this year.
But under the new government the IPC will be abolished by April 2012 and replaced by a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit.
Parliament will ratify national policy statements and the secretary of state will make final decisions on individual projects.
IPC chairman Sir Michael Pitt said: “A great deal of preparatory work has been done and the arrival of the first two project applications demonstrates growing confidence in the streamlined process for deciding nationally significant infrastructure projects.
“If these applications are accepted and proceed to examination, the public will be given their first opportunity to make formal representations to the IPC.”
A final decision could be made either by commissioners or secretaries of state if national policy statements are still not in place.