The Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas has led a debate in the Senedd calling on the National Grid to consider using underground or undersea cables or alternatives to carry electricity through National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales.
Additionally, the Plaid Cymru AMs discussed the need for a feasibility study to be carried out of the possibility of removing current pylons and replacing them with underground cables or other alternatives.
The AM for Mid and West Simon Thomas said:
“The debate was about the future of electricity in Wales, and how we plan, long term, for an electricity future that strengthens our self-sufficiency.
“Electricity pylons have a visual impact and this can cause opposition from communities to energy projects as well as impacting on people’s enjoyment of nature and wildlife, in turn, affecting on tourism.
“Some would argue that undergrounding cables costs more, which is true. But, when you factor in the fact that underground cables are not subject to severe weather, they are more reliable if you get it right.
“Plaid Cymru has long called for the full devolution of all energy powers. We would create a national system of decentralised energy, moving away from the traditional ‘hub & spoke’ energy system to a nation-wide network of smarter local grids that can prioritise the use of renewable energy, as in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
“A Plaid Cymru Manifesto Pledge during the Assembly Election was to set up a national energy company, Ynni Cymru.
“Ynni Cymru’s remit would cover a wide range of areas including reducing the consumption of energy in homes and businesses, funding installation of solar panels, and facilitating the use of public land for renewable energy purposes.”
The debate received widespread and cross-party support in the Senedd.