Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas has revealed his party’s plans for energy policy in a blog post for influential think-tank the Institute of Welsh Affairs.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Simon Thomas put forward proposals for a new energy company for Wales, Ynni Cymru.
Interference by the Conservative government in Westminster still constrains the way forward for a distinctive energy policy for Wales, according to the Assembly Member, while the decision to leave the European Union presses the need for more energy self-sufficiency quickly.
Party of Wales Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said:
“Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity, and with 2016 being on track to be the hottest year since records began, we are already feeling its effects. If we are serious about cutting Wales’ emissions by 80% by 2050 and reaching the cross-party agreed target of cutting emissions by 40% by 2020, we must act now.
“The Welsh Government’s programme for government ‘Taking Wales Forward’ is thin when it comes to energy policy. Plaid Cymru’s own response to this challenge in our Programme for Opposition 2016 -21 sets out a remit of government and a vision for a Wales that reduces its carbon emissions, harnesses its natural resources sustainably, and seizes opportunities in the low-carbon and circular economies.
“Westminster still has too much power over energy decisions. If the Wales Bill passes, Wales will have consenting powers over energy projects up to 350 megawatts which would draw an arbitrary line separating projects depending on their scale. Furthermore both financial incentives over renewable energy and the future of the electricity and gas grids are decided in London. This is an unacceptable constraint on Wales by UK Government policy decisions.
“However, there is a big step which the Welsh Government can take to increase energy generation from renewables. That is to set up a national energy company, Ynni Cymru, which will run as a not-for-dividend company at arms-length from Welsh Government, investing profits in improved services and prices.
“I welcome the Welsh Government’s recent commitment following Plaid Cymru pressure to review the need for a not-for dividend energy company.
“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, facilitating the use of public land for renewable energy purposes and many more.
“The decision to leave the EU means we should be accelerating the pace towards energy self-sufficiency. We believe that we can produce as much electricity as is consumed in Wales from renewables by 2035. Ynni Cymru would have a crucial role in fulfilling this aim and also in contributing to the Welsh Government’s climate change targets.”