“Our vision is clear, we want Wales to generate renewable energy to at least fully meet our energy needs and utilise surplus generation to tackle the nature and climate emergencies.”
Those were the words of Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters as he published the findings of an intensive deep dive review into renewable energy.
The Deputy Minister promised the Welsh Government will prioritise actions to reduce energy demand and maximise local ownership retaining economic and social benefits in Wales.
The deep dive, announced in October this year, involved a small core group of experts from both within the sector and outside to provide input and challenge.
In a Twitter thread, the Deputy Minister said:
I'm very grateful to the expert panel who worked very intensively with me to identify barriers to speeding up deployment of more renewable energy.
To meet Net Zero we've got to increase the amount of green energy we generate five-fold in the next 30 years.
The point of the review was to identify what barriers there are, set out plans to remove them and, crucially, work out how to make sure our communities and our economy benefit as a result.
In the lead up to COP26 we published Net Zero Wales which set out the actions we need to take in Wales to meet our second carbon budget (2021-2025) and lay the foundation for longer term emissions reduction as we respond to the climate and nature emergency.
Net Zero Wales reaffirmed our commitment for a significant transformation of energy generation moving away from fossil fuels to sustainable renewable generation.
In doing so we are clear that we must learn from previous industrial revolutions where Wales’ natural assets where utilised with little lasting long term benefit to our communities.
The terms of reference for the deep dive group were simple: to identify barriers to significantly scaling up renewable energy in Wales and identifying steps to overcome the barriers. We looked at short, medium and long term steps, and in doing so we will have a particular focus on retaining wealth and ownership in Wales.
The report includes recommendations broken down by five key themes. Highlights include:
- A clearer expression on vision for renewables which now states ‘we want Wales to generate renewable energy to at least fully meet our energy needs and utilise surplus generation to tackle the nature and climate emergencies.’
- Scaling up local energy plans to create a national energy plan by 2024 and mapping out future energy demand and supply to identify gaps to enable Wales to plan for a system that is flexible and smart.
- A commitment to work with Natural Resources Wales to carry out with an end-to-end review of the marine licensing, consenting and supporting advisory processes to remove barriers. This includes identifying marine ‘strategic resource areas’ to signpost appropriate and inappropriate areas for development at sea by 2023.
- A promise to explore ways of drawing down additional investment in renewable energy generation in Wales. The review says Welsh Government will prioritise local and community ownership to maximise local economic and social value.