Modest renewables target proposed for Wales

A Committee of the Welsh Assembly has recommended that Wales should set a "benchmark" to generate 4TWh of renewable energy per year by 2010. It has also added to calls for all electricity consents in Wales to be decided by the Assembly.

The Economic Development Committee issued a final report on renewables in January following its review of Welsh energy policy.1 Its central recommendation is that Wales should generate 4TWh per year from renewables by 2010 - amounting to just over 10% of Welsh electricity production. The Committee expects onshore wind, offshore wind and other renewables to make roughly equal contributions.

The figure is the upper limit of the 2-4TWh/yr proposal on which the Committee consulted last May (ENDS Report 328, p 40 ). But it is well below the 6.4TWh/yr target recommended in a report for the Assembly in 2001 (ENDS Report 325, pp 7-8 ) - and also short of the 4.4TWh/yr which the Government expects Wales to contribute towards the UK's national target (ENDS Report 326, pp 10-11 ).

A separate target for renewable heat production is not included, despite a _proposal to that effect in last year's _consultation.

The Committee recommends that the Assembly should monitor performance against the benchmark and "seek information from local authorities on the contributions they consider they could make."

The report also calls on the Assembly to "add its weight" to the pressure to resolve the issues of embedded generation and the New Electricity Trading Arrangements. And the Assembly is urged to seek ways to "clarify and streamline" the planning process, "while not diluting in any way the proper democratic control of such decisions."

Renewables should be recognised as a high growth area and programmes to encourage investment and the development of skills should be established, the report recommends.

The Committee also stresses that the Assembly should decide on all electricity consents in Wales. It says that the consultation "delivered a strong message that Wales should have powers to make its own decisions." Consents for projects of over 50MW are currently determined by the Trade and Industry Secretary.

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