Marine Energy Wales is delighted to welcome the Welsh Government’s new cabinet and offer our congratulations to those elected and re-elected as Members for the next Senedd term. In particular, we are pleased that the First Minister Mark Drakeford, Minister and Deputy Minister for Climate Change Julie James and Lee Waters as well as the Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething will be working on portfolios that are of direct interest to our sector. We are very much looking forward to working together to further develop the emerging offshore renewable energy sector for the benefit of Wales; in this, a crucial year, with COP26 in Glasgow on the horizon. As a sector, we hope to be able to seize the opportunity to showcase Wales’s emerging offshore renewable capability and ambition on the world’s stage and demonstrate Welsh commitment to decarbonisation, green jobs and a diverse energy mix. In order to realise this opportunity, there is no doubt that bold action is required and we look forward to seeing how this translates from Welsh Minister commitments in the coming weeks.
The Green Recovery and the drive towards decarbonisation should be front and centre of the next Programme for Government and we believe the Blue Economy has a key role to play as part of Wales’ significant offer to address the climate crisis and post-Covid recovery. We were encouraged by the strong narrative provided by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford during the announcement of the new cabinet yesterday. He stressed that the Cabinet will begin immediately to address the difficult challenges and issues facing the nation and our planet including “Making a reality of those huge opportunities we have in marine energy and other parts of the renewable energy sector. If we’re going to make the difference we need to make for future generations, now is the moment to get on that journey”. He added, “Wales is a beautiful country with immense natural assets, which will help power our recovery and create the jobs of the future”. We fully support this response and urge timely action from the new government to make this a reality.
In collaboration with our UK counterparts at the Marine Energy Council, Renewable UK and Scottish Renewables, we are calling on the UK Government for delivery of 1GW of Marine Energy by the 2030s with enabling actions at the UK level. Furthermore, we will be looking to work with the Welsh Government on the benefits of setting an aligned Welsh specific target for marine energy ahead of COP26.
As part of MEW’s political engagement activities ahead of the Senedd election, we produced a detailed manifesto briefing and an election 2-pager outlining the key asks for the next Welsh Government on behalf of our members. We will continue to pursue the realisation of Welsh Labour’s manifesto commitments to ‘support innovation in new renewable energy technology, and as part of a balanced energy policy, to develop a Tidal Lagoon Challenge and support ideas to make Wales a world centre of emerging tidal technologies’ as well as the delivery of our key asks:
- Maintaining policy support and increasing knowledge and understanding of the potential of emerging offshore renewable technologies and projects.
- Providing a route to market and appropriate revenue mechanisms for the sector.
- Ensuring the grid and ports infrastructure required to build the technology and export the power is available at the right time to the right scale.
- Enabling investment to support the upskilling and up-tooling of our supply chains.
- Timely deployment of technology that is not unduly constrained by the consenting regime; with a mandate for Natural Resources Wales to make pragmatic, risk-based decisions and provide investment to build the evidence base for robust decision-making.
- Encouraging cross-border learning, collaboration and data sharing to improve the evidence base and support emerging offshore technology deployment.
- Ensuring emerging offshore renewables continue to be a significant priority post EU grant funding; to provide a legacy and commercial route to market for one of Wales’ most promising developing industries.
This is THE year and THE Senedd term for turning commitment in to action. There is much work to do to realise Wales’ potential and accelerate deployment of our emerging offshore renewable energy technologies. We very much look forward to collaborating with the Welsh Government and Senedd to make that happen.