Evidence to the WAC Inquiry into Renewable Energy in Wales
Submission from the IWA in support of our evidence session on Jan 25th, details of our programme of work and reports below – we would highlight the final report and the ten recommendations there, and also the regulatory and policy powers report (WP.5) as being of specific interest.
Re-energising Wales - 14th March 2019
By moving to 100% renewables in Wales we can increase energy security, reduce fuel poverty and tackle climate change.
Our Re-energising Wales project has created a practical plan for Wales to move to 100% renewable energy by 2035. We’ve brought together leading thinkers from industry, academia, government and local communities to find and address the barriers that are slowing down renewable energy developments and look at opportunities to support growth. Below we have provided evidence to convince policy makers in Wales and the UK to use our plan and make Wales an energy leader.
Why are we working on renewable energy?
Locally produced energy that is affordable, reliable and clean is better for everyone. By moving to renewables we can create a sustainable source of energy for Wales, have more control over energy prices and reduce our carbon emissions.
Wales has some of the best natural resources for renewable energy in Europe but at the moment we’re not reaching that potential. We believe that with the right plan in place, a move to renewables can bring environmental, social and economic benefits.
Renewable energy developments are:
• Good for communities – locally owned renewable energy projects bring social and economic benefits to communities, including a long-term income and opportunities for education and tourism.
• Good for the economy – renewable energy developments bring investment to an area and create jobs.
• Good for the environment – renewable energy is cleaner and sustainable, helping Wales meet its legally-binding targets for reducing carbon emissions.
What we’ve done
We have created a practical plan for Wales to meet its energy demand through renewable energy.
Providing the research and evidence to support a move to 100% renewable energy To get public, political and financial support for a move to 100% renewable energy we need to show that it’s possible and profitable. We’ve gathered information and evidence on issues such as the energy needs of homes and buildings, the renewable energy potential in Wales and the costs and benefits involved.
Increasing our understanding of what motivates people to save energy and get involved in community renewable energy projects Before we can increase the number of community owned renewable energy projects we need to find out what values influence how people use and see energy. We’ve engaged with communities about what would motivate them to take a more active role in how they generate and use their energy. We’ve also looked at what potential different areas of Wales have for community owned renewable energy schemes.
Regulation that meets our needs Current regulation needs updating to make it easier for large and small-scale renewable energy projects to go ahead. We’ve examined how regulation currently works to make sure we have the right regulation and powers to support renewable energy development for the future in Wales.
Filling in the gaps in policy and securing political support The right policy needs to be in place to support a move to 100% renewable energy. We have identified policy gaps and written a series of papers to influence change and gain political support for our ambitions. You can read our first policy paper on Funding Renewable Energy projects and the Welsh Government’s response to our recommendations.
We have used the results from the different work areas of the project to create a detailed, costed, timed action plan for developing a renewable energy programme for Wales.
• Welsh Government renewable energy targets were informed by Re-energising Wales’ findings in September 2017.
• After calling for Welsh Government to introduce business relief rates for renewable energy projects, in February 2018 they announced targeted support for small hydropower projects and a 100% rates relief for community hydro projects.
• We are the first to produce a detailed report on the energy demand of buildings in Wales, first published in April 2018. The report can help develop options for reducing our energy demand and increasing energy efficiency. A summary of the full report is here. The full was then updated in early 2019 when further data became available.
• We have presented options on how Wales and the Swansea Bay City Region can make the most of their renewable energy potential. The full report is available here.
• Building on the above Swansea Bay City Region report, we have outlined the economic opportunity that arises with a truly transformative approach to energy generation and domestic refurbishment in the Swansea Bay City Region. The full report is available here.
• We have analysed the economic costs and benefits of a renewable energy transition in Wales. The full report is available here.
• We highlighted actions that could protect, promote and achieve scale in community and local ownership of renewable energy in Wales. The full report is available here.
• We have developed a framework for action outlining the key regulatory and policy powers that we need to use in Wales to maximise renewable energy. The full report is available here.
• We highlighted opportunities that could significantly improve and decarbonise the transport sector in Wales. The full report is available here.
• We held events in the Summer of 2017 to inspire and create discussion on the future of community owned renewable energy schemes in Wales. Listen to the podcasts from the events.
• Drawing from the evidence base of all Re-energising Wales publications, we have developed our final project plan ‘A plan for Wales’ renewable energy future: Essential actions to re-energise Wales by 2035′. The full report is available here.
We have also responded to a number of consultations, feeding in evidence from the project when necessary:
• IWA response to the Welsh Government ‘Locally owned renewable energy – A call for evidence ’.
• IWA response to the Welsh Government ‘A low carbon pathway for Wales’ consultation.
• IWA response to the UK Parliament ‘Welsh Affairs Select Committee’ inquiry into ‘Renewable energy in Wales’.
• IWA response to the National Assembly ‘Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee’ inquiry into ‘Electric vehicle charging in Wales’.
The IWA ‘Re-energising Wales’ project is kindly supported by the Hodge Foundation, the Friends Provident Charitable Foundation and the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation.