Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs
I recently announced targets for renewable energy for Wales, to drive forward a prosperous low carbon future for Wales. In my statement, I said I was working with some of my Brexit Ministerial Round Table participants to build a real and balanced consensus on what will best meet Wales’ needs.
The UK has invested over £9bn in developing the renewables sector, with costs successfully driven down. However, the rapid changes of UK government policy have decimated large parts of the renewable sector, with developments potentially valuable to Wales, stopped in their tracks by UK ministers. 4 new wind developments in mid-Wales with an installed capacity of over 300MW were refused by the UK government in 2015. Whilst I welcome the additional proposals for UK government investment in the Scottish Islands in the Clean Growth Strategy, it raises serious questions about the UK’s piecemeal approach to support for new renewable energy development.
The bulk of UK government renewables investment is now going to offshore wind projects outside Wales. In the most recent allocation, awards were made to projects based in England with an aggregated capacity of 2,310.9MW, projects based in Scotland with an aggregated capacity of 1,035MW and a single award to a project in Wales of 0.05MW. This investment, amongst others, is paid for by Welsh bill payers.
The lowest cost technologies, such as onshore wind and solar, present the best opportunities both to manage the costs of generation to energy bills and for Welsh businesses to build the resilient local energy structures necessary to weather the future in a low carbon market outside Europe. A policy framework which enables the most affordable projects to continue to form the bulk of energy supply, whether through the CfD regime or other mechanisms such as a price floor, is fundamentally important to delivering our decarbonisation and prosperity goals.
Today I am pleased to launch the public statement of support for this position, which has been developed, in partnership, with a broad range of Welsh organisations. I hope others will be able to endorse it and join those already working to develop a consensus on the delivery of our future energy solutions.
This statement focuses on onshore wind and solar. I am clear about the need to consider the full range of energy technologies, including marine, ensuring there is a continuous development path from research and development to scaling up to the stage when technologies have the ability to compete with the established market.