Julie James, Minister for Climate Change
It has now been almost 18 months since we concluded our Renewable Energy Deep Dive which identified 21 recommendations aimed at removing the barriers and increasing the opportunities for renewable energy generation in Wales.
Our first biannual update on the renewable energy deep dive, concentrated on actions up to September 2022, and demonstrated the progress that we have made against each of the recommendations and the strides that we have taken to promote renewable generation in Wales. I am pleased to now publish our second biannual update. This report underlines some of the more significant activity against our recommendations between October 2022 and March 2023, and some of the key forthcoming milestones that will help us complete those recommendations.
The report demonstrates Welsh Government’s efforts to transition our energy use from a reliance on fossil fuels to a strong, long-term and sustainable renewables sector that retains the wealth in Wales for our communities. A major milestone has been the publication of our consultation on new renewable energy targets. Those targets reaffirm our vision for Wales to at least meet our electricity needs from renewable energy sources. Our work on Local Area Energy Planning, to feed into a National Energy Plan, and our Future Grids work, are aimed at mapping the infrastructure that we’ll need to understand and realise our energy needs and commitments. Our draft ‘Strategy for Public Engagement & Action on Climate Change’ is examining how behavioural science techniques might identify the key barriers and motivations towards green travel, home energy, food and consumption behaviours.
The work to respond to the growing demand for consenting and licensing for renewables is carefully considering the most efficient way to speed up the process for considering applications while retaining a robust system that carefully considers both the nature and climate emergencies. Our work to support community energy sector helps ensure that all Welsh communities, but especially those that host renewable developments, benefit from our move to Net Zero.
Work emerging from our Investment into Renewables subgroup has helped identify financial levers that we can start to use to further incentivise the roll out of renewable developments across multiple sectors. However, to achieve our ambitions and targets we recognise that there is more to be done and that important policy drivers, such as our renewable targets consultation, our heat strategy, and our net zero skills action plan will provide the insight on what efforts we need to take next to help achieve our vision.
We will follow up in the next six months with a further update as we work to progress these recommendations and further break down barriers and take opportunities to scaling up renewable energy generation in Wales.