Leading a call for the energy sector to become an economic driver for Wales, the National Assembly Environment and Sustainability Committee says a renewable energy delivery board is needed to co-ordinate energy developments. Initiatives could include a one-stop shop for advice to businesses and community groups to help them navigate the renewable energy planning/consenting processes.

The Committee also urges the Welsh Government to pursue the further devolution of energy consenting and financial incentive powers and to ensure that the incentives process for marine wave and tidal projects in Wales is on a par with that which already exists in Scotland.

“The energy sector in Wales has an important contribution to make in meeting EU targets for renewable energy generation, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boosting the economy,” said the Committee Chair, Lord Elis-Thomas.

He also said it was vital that people across Wales benefit from the huge potential of renewable energy, both onshore and offshore, adding that the energy effect on communities and the environment will need to be carefully managed.

The Committee report includes over 70 recommendations and leaves virtually no stone unturned. On planning, for example, it states: “The Welsh Government should pilot the introduction of a system that better integrates the planning and environmental permitting systems in Wales before the full introduction of a new system in April 2013. Such a system should be flexible enough to allow for some choice of which permitting route is the most suitable for each project.”

On Electricity Market Reform (EMR) it calls for the UK Government’s EMR measures to be implemented with greater transparency and speed and to ensure that stability is achieved in the longer term by confirmation of the changes to the Renewable Obligation Certificate regime beyond 2017 as soon as possible.

edie staff

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