The Welsh Government should lead by example by encouraging others to remove the current backlog of onshore windfarm applications in Wales and establish a renewable energy delivery board to co-ordinate energy developments, according to a report from a National Assembly for Wales Committee.
The Environment and Sustainability Committee’s report recommends that the Welsh Government should set out its case for further devolution of energy consenting and financial incentive powers and ensure that the incentives process for marine wave and tidal projects in Wales is on a par with Scotland.
During its inquiry into energy and planning, the Committee heard concerns from communities about how energy policies and developments had been introduced and communicated in the past. The report recommends that the Welsh Government should urgently complete its work with developers and Renewable UK Cymru on a protocol for community benefits and make sure that these benefits also extend to communities affected by new roads or improvements to the electricity grid.
The Committee endorses the ecosystems approach being adopted by the Welsh Government and looks forward to seeing this develop.
“During the inquiry, it became apparent that the energy sector in Wales has an important contribution to make in meeting EU targets for renewable energy generation, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boosting the economy,” said the Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’s Environment and Sustainability Committee, Lord Elis-Thomas AM.
“It is vital that people across Wales benefit from the huge potential of renewable energy, both onshore and offshore, but we recognise that the effect on communities and the environment will need to be carefully managed.
“Ensuring a sustainable future is the responsibility of each one of us. We all have a part to play if we are to meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities ahead.”
The full report, which contains over 70 recommendations and more information on the Environment and Sustainability Committee can be found here.