In December 2018, I published our response to the Welsh Government’s Call for Evidence on Locally Owned Renewable Energy, which committed to publishing a position statement on the issue. Today I am pleased to publish this policy statement ‘Local ownership of energy generation in Wales – benefitting Wales today and for future generations’ setting out our position.
This is a time of huge opportunity and unprecedented change for the energy system. Our economy is being reshaped by the collective need to respond to the climate change emergency.
Wales has a long legacy as a UK powerhouse and we have high ambitions for a prosperous low carbon future. In order to seize the benefit from this period of change, Wales must lead with ambition, identifying and securing the benefits from transition for Wales.
We must replace fossil fuel with renewable generation and we have ambitious targets for energy generation in Wales. However, this will only bring prosperity to Wales if we retain its benefit. I have set an expectation for all new energy projects in Wales to have at least an element of local ownership from 2020. This policy statement re-enforces the need for developers to work with the communities hosting energy projects to ensure they retain benefit from generation in Wales. Welsh Government has worked with stakeholders to develop guidance, which will be available early in the spring.
Since 2010, renewable electricity generation in Wales has trebled. In 2018, renewable generators in Wales produced electricity equating to 50% of Wales’ use. Our target is to generate the equivalent of 70% of Wales’ electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030.
At the end of 2018 Wales had 778MW of renewable energy capacity in local ownership, good progress against our target of 1GW by 2030. The policy climate, set by the UK Government, presents challenges for further investment in renewable energy. My aim, however, is for Welsh Government, energy developers and the people of Wales to work together to deliver renewable energy and embrace the opportunities and benefits presented by the transition to a low carbon economy.
We look forward to working with communities, businesses, individuals, the public sector and developers to increase prosperity by encouraging more locally owned energy generation in Wales.