Working in the energy sector in Wales is like waiting for the proverbial bus. Seemingly years standing around, and then everything happens at once.
Barely pausing to catch his breath following a legislative marathon of the Planning Bill and Environment Bill, Carl Sargeant has shown that his awareness of the opportunities for Wales arising from our natural resources and innovation is at least as great as his capacity to steer Bills through the National Assembly.
The Bills will make a significant difference to Wales’ ability to determine our own energy projects, and to ensuring that our natural resources are responsibly managed with a balance between ecological and social objectives. The Environment Bill, by enshrining the requirement for a reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions, might well encourage public sector organisations to take a far more serious look at the benefits of renewable energy on their own estates.
Carl has also recently approved the Garreg Lwyd windfarm, to add an additional 30 MW of wind capacity to Powys. On top of the nearly £5m of local economic benefits from activity in the construction phase, there will be a lifetime fund of £4m in community benefits. The 500 properties closest to the windfarm will also benefit from an annual reduction in their electricity bill of at least £100.
Carl will be providing the keynote political speech at the Smart Energy Wales conference, a step which indicates Welsh Government is becoming aware of the opportunities arising from the fast-moving ‘smart energy’ sector – an area where Wales currently has some outstanding research and business interests.
Speaking about the Minister’s activities, David Clubb said:
“The Minister for Natural Resources has shown his appreciation of the huge benefits which the energy sector could bring to Wales. In the year in which we will switch from being an electricity exporter to an electricity importer, his enthusiasm for smart energy and renewables will be pivotal in driving the business and community benefits which flow from new investment in the sector.
“We look forward to welcoming him to the Renewable Wales conference next week, and look forward to hearing his thoughts on the sector as our keynote speaker.”
Information and tickets for next week’s Renewable Wales conference are available from www.renewable-wales.com.