19 march 2019

Wales: 'Radical' plan could deliver 100 per cent renewable power by 2035

Business Green, March 19, 2019

Wales could shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035, creating over 20,000 jobs and delivering a £7.4bn economic boost for the country's economy.

That is the headline conclusion from a new report released last week by the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) as part of the think tank's Re-Energising Wales project, which argues renewables could play a central role in the country's economic future.

The report, entitled AÂ plan for Wales'Â renewable energy future: Essential actions to re-energise Wales by 2035, puts forward a 10 point plan to accelerate clean energy and energy efficiency investment across Wales.

Specifically it proposes energy efficiency upgrades for 870,000 homes, the roll out of 2.6GW of solar capacity, 2.5GW of onshore wind capacity, 1.7GW of offshore wind capacity, and 4GW of marine and floating wind turbine capacity. It calculates that by 2035 Wales could boast just over 11GW of renewable power capacity delivering £7.4bn of gross value add across the economy.

Writing in a blog post, Re-Energising Wales Project Coordinator at the IWA Shea Buckland-Jones said the report comes at a critical time for the country's energy system.

"Wales is starting to reshape its energy generation and is at a crucial point in terms of ensuring that our energy system is fit for purpose now and for the future," he wrote. "We need to be bold about the potential of renewable energy to underpin the country's economic foundation and to deliver our national and global obligations. Our plan is radical and requires shared public and political ambition. The time to tackle climate change is quickly running out."

The plan also calls for a number of policy interventions from the Welsh Assembly to help unlock further renewables investment. For example, it calls for 12 to 18 months of targeted low carbon economic stimulus funding, tweaks to planning rules to ensure more public land is used for renewable energy generation, and the development of a co-ordinated Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

It also calls for increased investment in green skills development and a requirement for new projects with over 5MW of capacity to have between five per cent 33 per cent local or community ownership.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said Wales was already well established as a renewable energy hub in the UKL but hailed the report as "welcome insight" into how continued investment in renewables could be mobilised.

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