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Government Minister Describes Welsh Renewables Progress as 'frustrating'

15 Dec 14:00 by Steve Walia

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Lesley Griffiths, the Environment Secretary, has said that progress of renewable energy developments in Wales has been hampered by a lack of clarity and defined policy direction by the British government. She said that confusion over financial support and disappearing subsidies were a particular concern to the renewables industry, who lacked the confidence needed in order to invest in long-term projects.

Griffiths has called on the British government to transfer rights on offering financial subsidy incentives over to the Welsh assembly for projects within the country. She said that Wales was keen to become a country renowned for its clear commitment to green power. 

The British government has said that it remains committed to the development of a clean and sustainable energy market in the UK, but some subsidy schemes have been ended early, and the lack of direction is beginning to frustrate developers in the field, especially in the wake of the Brexit result.

For large renewable power schemes in Wales, powers of consent will be transferred to Cardiff Bay under the new Wales Bill - covering developments of up to 350MW of capacity. However, Westminster is still retaining control over the supporting electricity grid infrastructure and the subsidies extended to encourage new projects to get going.

These include the feed-in tariff schemes which offer incentive payments to businesses and homeowners installing wind turbines or solar panels. 

Ms Griffiths admitted that the Welsh government could also take stronger steps to support the renewables sector. She said that they were looking to introduce renewable energy production targets, which would be shared by the summer.

She also asked the British government to clarify its position on wind and tidal technologies in particular as part of its ongoing move towards a low-carbon economy.