Energy debates in Wales

Welsh Labour’s First Minister, Carwyn Jones, is set to ask the UK government to devolve powers to Welsh government when it comes to decisions over clean energy projects in Wales.

After a series of public campaigns against the National Grid plans to build a new 19 acre substation and expanse of pylons to support new wind farm developments, Welsh Labour are expected to call for devolved power because at present, the final decision for planning approval will be made in Westminster not Cardiff.

The First Minister stated that it was “unacceptable” for planning decisions regarding wind farms in Wales to be made in London and is expected to raise the matter at the British-Irish Council held in the English capital today.

As part of the UK government’s energy strategy to decrease emissions and increase the amount of energy derived from renewable sources to a total of 10% by 2010, the Welsh government proposed seven new areas in Wales, known as Tan 8, for wind farm development in the year of 2005. The decision has since proved controversial culminating with over 1,500 protesters campaigning outside the Senedd in May.

Following the protests, Welsh Government announced plans to limit the number of wind farm developments in the Tan 8 areas. Welsh Labour however, maintains that they are committed to UK energy targets (which they are currently achieving) but want more control over final decisions affecting Welsh landscapes.