The news that the Welsh Government has been warned that it is not harnessing the full potential of its natural environment should come as no real surprise. A report produced by the Green Alliance (an environmental think tank) shows that the UK's green economy has remained relatively healthy since the banking crisis but Wales could do much better when it comes to developing sustainable energy and sustainable energy related jobs.
Some 41,500 people work in what are classed as low-carbon or environmental jobs in Wales. While that is more than the work in financial services or the motor trade it is well short of the biggest employers such as the health sector where more than 190,000 people work or the retail sector which employs 140,000. The report reveals that £ 443 million was invested in renewable energy sector in Wales last year, yet only around 6.29% of the electricity used in Wales is produced from renewable sources.
This depressing figure is actually lower than the UK average of 7.45% and significantly behind Scotland's 22.45%. This might be interpreted to suggest that the Welsh (Labour) Government in Cardiff is fairly indifferent to developing sustainable energy resources in Wales. The situation is very different in Scotland where the Scottish Government views things very differently and is acting with a sense of urgency.
Perhaps, aside form having their hands tied by planning restrictions and powers, more to the point they have (so far) utterly failed to grasp a real opportunity to think differently and generate energy jobs. Perhaps simply lacking the imagination or the political will to think for themselves, preferring to rely on costly inefficient ‘British’ solutions to our energy needs. The later may be closer to the mark considering New and Old Labours historic indifference towards the concept of Wales.