Dodds: Wales should be Green Battery of Western Europe

The Welsh and UK Governments should work together to turn Wales into a renewable powerhouse that could help allies in Europe reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas imports. Projects under construction or in the planning phase should be immediately fast-tracked. This will be a win-win not only helping to reduce UK and EU dependence on Russian hydrocarbons but boosting Welsh jobs and helping save the environment.

Wales currently exports over twice the amount of power it consumes and around 48% of electricity generation in Wales already comes from renewables. But with vast reserves of tidal power in the North and South of Wales, wind power in the West, the potential for Green Hydrogen facilities in former mining areas and hydropower potential throughout the country; Wales has some of the greatest potential for a green economy in all of Europe.

Wales is fortunate enough that our location and our abundant climate-friendly natural resources mean that we are in a position not just to reach a fully renewable self-sufficiently in energy supply here in Wales, but also to actively contribute to helping our EU allies decarbonise.

What we need to reach this though is the ambition. We need a full-scale green industrial revolution to maximise the energy we generate from wind, tidal and hydropower. This means going beyond the projects currently in the pipeline.

To do this, we will need to see the Welsh and UK Governments work together with the private sector to bring in greater investment to the renewable sector in Wales. We should be investing in any project which offers a good chance of reducing domestic demand and expanding international supply.

Projects in the planning or proposal stages must be fast-tracked.

The benefits of increasing our green energy production go beyond helping our allies reduce dependence on Putin. It would mean lower bills for Welsh consumers who are being hit by a cost-of-living crisis being caused by our dependence on fossil fuels. It would also mean thousands of new highly skilled jobs in future-proof industries.

However, we need to ensure that the money generated from our vast natural resources is spent in Wales and benefits local communities. The production of wind turbines, hydrogen batteries and other renewable components should happen inside Wales.

There is no good reason why Wales cannot be the Green Battery of Western Europe. The only thing that is holding us back is a lack of incentivisation for the private sector and a lack of interest from the UK Government in particular.

* Jane Dodds is Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

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  • David Garlick 15th Mar '22 - 10:27am

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Gwyn Williams 15th Mar '22 - 11:14am

    Wales produced twice as much electricity as it consumed in 2018. In 2019 Wales became the 5th largest exporter of electricity in the World. The main importers of Welsh electricity are Ireland and England. I live in a county in Wales where, over a year, 100% of the electricity consumed is produced from renewables. One of the biggest hindrances to major renewable electricity developments is the overly complicated bureaucratic way in which they are granted permission. Some require approval from London others from Cardiff. Decisions on all energy projects in Wales should be devolved to Wales.

  • Thanks Jane. Wales definitely has the potential to do a lot here, with benefit to local communities as well as the environment and wider society.

    I’m guessing a bit like Scotland, the challenge isn’t so much producing ‘enough’ electricity for domestic use, but producing it all at the right time. Whilst Scotland exports some electricity produced, actual electricity consumption is just 56% from renewables, as there remains a reliance on nuclear and fossil fuels for the times when supply from renewables drops below demand.

    Hydro, including tidal, can help with predicable generation, but smart use of hydrogen, and storage methods that aren’t just about resource intensive batteries are essential. There’s a lot of great work going on, some of of which relies on storing potential energy by lifting and lowering weights (old mine shafts could come in handy), or even railway type systems in hills.

    Our electricity demand as we shift from petrol to electric will continue to grow, but we still must do a lot to minimise demand and improve efficiencies. Again old mining areas can be put to great use for deep geothermal heating (and cooling) with the added potential to revive run-down areas.

  • Laurence Cox 15th Mar '22 - 11:59am


    We should start by converting hydro-electric power stations in Scotland to pumped-storage. Strathclyde University has done a good deal of work on this, with policy briefings like this:

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