First minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, will speak to the British-Irish Council today (July 20) on the subject of devolving major energy infrastructure projects to Wales.

Mr Jones is facing a backlash from grass roots groups over large scale wind farms in areas like Montgomeryshire in particular.

As a result the minister, while committing Wales to renewables targets, hopes more devolved powers from Westminster will allow the country to decide its renewable energy policy.

In policy TAN 8, part of Wales’ 2010 Energy Policy Statement, the country has already detailed how it will restrict the ‘proliferation’ of large scale wind farms across the whole of Wales and focuses on the Strategic Search Areas which were derived following an independent assessment.

Mr Jones said: “While we continue to promote all forms of renewable energy, onshore wind is currently the most commercially mature form of renewable energy.

“The Welsh Government remains committed to the principles of planning for onshore wind in a strategic way, which seeks to optimise the production of renewable energy whilst protecting Wales’ environment.

“In cases where communities get the disbenefits of major infrastructure without the economic advantages high voltage power brings to city areas, we believe a new approach must be taken to the undergrounding of high voltage power lines.

“In addition, I will be meeting with the British Irish Council where I intend to raise the impact of the UK Government energy policy on Wales and Montgomeryshire in particular.”

Luke Walsh

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