Wales wants to be ‘renewables hub’ with new plan

Wales wants to be a “renewables hub” under new plans set out by its First Minister Carwyn Jones yesterday.The ‘Energy Wales’ report sets out ambitions to create thousands more jobs […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Wales wants to be a “renewables hub” under new plans set out by its First Minister Carwyn Jones yesterday.
The ‘Energy Wales’ report sets out ambitions to create thousands more jobs in building projects and generating renewable energy.

Acknowledging that energy is “a defining issue for our generation”, the First Minister said: “There is no escaping the challenges of climate change and energy security. However, these challenges are also a golden opportunity for Wales.”

Wales must be bold and grab as many green jobs coming to the UK as possible, declared the minister.

He said: “Last year the renewable and low carbon sectors supported 29,000 jobs in Wales. I want to see these figures increase and see Wales securing the highest possible number of the 250,000 additional jobs predicted for the energy sector in the UK in the coming years.”

However Mr Jones claimed his country is currently “disadvantaged” by UK energy policy, adding: “I will continue to highlight the fact that Wales is disadvantaged by UKenergy policy and seek a fairer resolution to the current arrangements.”

Wales can only give planning permission for energy projects up to 50MW. A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We want permission for all energy projects to come from Swansea Bay.”

DECC suggested this was unlikely.

A spokesperson added: “The Coalition Government is firmly of the view that nationally significant projects should be assessed within a unified planning framework for England and Wales together.

“This is the best way to maintain developer confidence in the planning regime at a time when new infrastructure is urgently needed to achieve our low carbon ambitions.”