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Exclusive Welsh renewable energy plans 'stymied' by Westminster

Ecologist

7th February, 2011

Welsh environment secretary Jane Davidson says approval for renewable power projects is being unnecessarily delayed, and indicates Welsh Assembly would support a replacement nuclear facility at Anglesey

Wales's ambitions to become fossil-fuel free by 2050 are being held back by Westminster, according to the Welsh environment minister.

In an interview with the Ecologist this week, Jane Davidson said Wales wanted to stop using fossil fuels altogether by 2050 or possibly earlier and export renewable energy to the rest of the UK. She believes the country has the potential to double the amount of electricity it generates from renewable sources within the next 14 years - with the majority coming from marine and wind projects.

However, she said progress was being held up by Westminster, which retained powers to approve any power project over 50 megawatts in size.

'We're in this ludicrous position where there is this fantastic renewable energy resource in Wales, wind and 1,200 km of coastline and marine energy...we're also the second best place in the UK after the south-west for solar. So we have this amazing potential in terms of renewable energy but that portfolio is stymied by not having the energy powers which Westminster has refused to give us.

'We've got more in front of the planning commission than any other part of the UK. If we had those powers we could move much quicker,' she said

In the interview she also admitted the Welsh Assembly would support a decision to replace the Anglesey Nuclear power station and that opencast mining was likely to continue in Wales until at least 2025.

Useful links

Welsh Assembly Government’s ‘Energy Policy Statement, A Low Carbon Revolution.’

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