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Welsh Government must protect Community Energy Schemes

2015 Tachwedd 11 3:18 PM
Gan William Powell

In light of the ongoing onslaught against the renewable energy sector by the UK Conservative Government, William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Environment has urged the Labour Welsh Government to be doing more to protect community energy schemes.

The Conservatives in Westminster are intending to slash a number of the subsidies available to solar, wind and hydro schemes and the Treasury's latest plan is to remove tax relief incentives for community energy projects.

Addressing Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Natural Resources, this afternoon William Powell asked the Minister what engagement he has had with UK Government Departments and what the Welsh Government is doing to protect and promote community energy projects.

William Powell AM said:

"The Tories in Government on their own are declaring war on the renewable sector.

"Considering what the Tories are planning to do in Westminster, the Labour Welsh Government needs to be doing more to support community energy projects.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that in order to safeguard the future of community energy, it will be essential to optimise the European funding available, as well as adopting a more proactive approach to exploiting the community energy generating potential of the public estate. This is important not only in terms of energy security, but also climate change.

"A further challenge faced by community energy developers, under current OFGEM rules, is the fact that it is not possible for community groups to sell the electricity they produce to the local communities in which they live. Clearly this is a huge hindrance to community energy's capacity to fulfil its potential and to make a positive impact on energy security and fuel poverty at a local level and I would urge the Minister to promote a more rational approach from OFGEM, thus securing for community energy groups the right to sell electricity to their own local communities."