Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference – Calls for a New ‘Celtic Sea Powerhouse’

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for the creation of a “Celtic Sea Powerhouse” to serve as a new economic region for Wales harnessing green technology on the first day of their spring conference.

The policy comes on the back of the announcement of freeport status in Milford Haven and Port Talbot.

The policy calls for the cutting of red tape in Wales to establish floating offshore wind farms which can currently take up to 10 years for floating offshore wind to be given planning permission.

The Crown Estate Estimates the Celtic Sea has the economic potential to accommodate up to an additional 20GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2045 with the potential to create some 10,000 jobs.

The motion also calls for Wales to boost renewables in South West Wales in order to attract data processing and tech companies noting that Ireland is Europe’s leading data storage and processing centre, but the industry is using 17% of the country’s power. In order to reduce demand Ireland will no longer supply electricity to new server farms. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have argued that an abundance of cheap renewable power would allow Wales to attract some of these businesses to Wales.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats also reiterated their calls for the Crown Estate to be devolved to Wales to ensure the profit from offshore wind energy lease agreements (currently worth an estimated £1 billion) stays in Wales.

Commenting Pembrokeshire County Councillor Alistair Cameron, who proposed the policy stated:

West Wales has a real opportunity to be at the forefront of the next industrial revolution. Combining offshore wind technology with green hydrogen and the skills and education sector at Swansea University we could build a whole new economy including attracting more tech companies to Wales.

However, we need the UK Government and Welsh Government to work together to grasp this opportunity with both hands and right now they aren’t delivering.

We have energy companies that are unwilling to invest in our offshore potential because of high levels of red tape and in particular extensive waiting times for project approvals are making it a less attractive prospect.

There is a danger that while the North of England and Scotland move ahead with new economies based on offshore wind, green hydrogen and tech companies West Wales will get left behind. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to call on Welsh Government to outline an improved strategy for offshore wind in West Wales including linked industries.

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This entry was posted in Conference and Wales.

One Comment

  • George Thomas 27th Mar '23 - 8:34pm

    “However, we need the UK Government and Welsh Government to work together to grasp this opportunity….”

    The UK government refuses to acknowledge that HS2 is an England only development, refuses to give St David’s Day bank holiday status, refuses to devolve tax powers to Cardiff Airport because it might damage Bristol Airport, refuses to electrify rail line to Swansea…. etc. etc. And it’s not just this version of Westminster, we can no go back and read what Tony Blair’s government thought of devolving power when he was in charge.

    I look forward to Ed Davey taking up some of the fantastic suggestions Welsh Lib Dems are calling for.

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