The Welsh Government has recently published its recommendations to increase renewable energy production in Wales following a ‘deep dive’ exercise.
In 2017, the Welsh Government announced a target of meeting 70 percent of Wales’ electricity demand from Welsh renewable electricity sources by 2030. By 2019, 51 percent of the electricity consumed in Wales was generated from renewable energy sources, up from 19 percent in 2014 and 50 percent in 2018.
However, the abolition of Feed in Tariffs in 2019 has led to a significant slowdown in on-farm investment into renewable energy sources, consequently weakening the environmental benefits associated with private initiatives and diminishing the momentum of reaching Welsh Government’s 2030 target.
Their latest report sets out 21 overarching recommendations on Strategy; Grid; Consenting, licensing and supporting advisory arrangements; Finance; Opportunities to scale up Community and Local Energy in Wales; Opportunities to maximise Economic and Social value in Wales; and Innovation.
The FUW welcomes the Welsh Governments’ commitments to work with Ofgem and the UK Government and to focus on innovation - calls the FUW made in its 2021 Welsh Government Senedd Election Manifesto.
However, the FUW discussed renewable energy production with Minister for Climate Change Julie James in September and therefore it is disappointing to see that the report focuses almost entirely on local and community owned renewable energy sources with no mention of incentivising or supporting private on-farm initiatives.
The Union fully supports the development of appropriate on-farm renewable energy sources, and maintains that Welsh farms have a central role to play in reaching Welsh targets provided the correct support is available.