Aside from its people, Wales’ greatest strength lies with the potential of her natural resources – these are our most valuable sustainable assets, and they are need to be managed in a sustainable way that promotes fairness. Before we can develop a sustainable future for our country, the Welsh Government needs not only to get a grip but to make better use of its existing powers as well as achieving the devolution of powers over planning for renewable energy for Wales.
The Welsh Government needs to develop sustainable energy targets for Wales and to assume responsibility for delivering them. Hand in hand with this it is important that local communities get a direct benefit from larger energy projects in their area and that they get an opportunity to participate in and also to develop small scale community beneficial energy projects.
All energy projects in Wales need to include community benefit clauses so that our communities get something back. We need to urgently establish of an arms-length, publicly-owned, not-for-distributable-profit energy company – Ynni Cymru – something that should directly benefit Welsh energy customers by helping them to pay a fair price for their energy. Energy bills in Wales have risen three times faster than wages since 2008, and the establishment of Ynni Cymru can help to tackle this issue directly.
Once we used to be a world leader in carbon-based energy and we have the potential once again to be a world leader when it comes to developing sustainable energy projects. If this is going to happen then our Government needs to work to create the right environment so that everyone in Wales can benefit, rather than leaving it to disinterested Westminster based governments. Our country’s potential as a world leader in green industries needs to be unlocked and we need to create a stronger and more economically self-sufficient Wales.