Aberavon AM, David Rees, has spoken in the Senedd today (17.10.12) in praise of local community-led energy projects. He also called for the devolution of powers concerning larger scale energy applications and called for local communities to be at the heart of any decisions made on energy. As a member of the Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee he has played a key role in the committee’s report ‘Energy Policy and Planning in Wales’ which features 77 recommendations for the Welsh Government.

David Rees AM said:
“The way we use and view energy is undergoing profound changes as a result of changing environmental and social factors. The report is very timely as we have recently heard concerns being raised about the future of energy generation within the UK in the coming years. Ofgem’s first annual electricity capacity assessment highlights the UK’s spare capacity as falling from 14% to only 4% in the winter of 2015-16, raising fears of energy shortages. What the committee’s report identified was a need to consider the whole mix of energy generation, the roles each mode can play and the policy development that will deliver a strong and secure energy future.”

He added:
“Unfortunately, too much of the recent dialogue surrounding renewable energy has been tainted by conflict. Local people have felt understandably distressed by large scale wind farm proposals and the impact upon their communities. To me, it remains a travesty that decisions, on such important issues, are taken so far away from the communities on which they will impact. As such, I welcome the recommendation to clarify the case for the devolvement of these powers.
“Also, I welcome the report’s emphasis on community empowerment and on smaller, community-led projects, such as local anaerobic digestion plants or small/micro hydro-electric plants, that will harness energy in a way that is sympathetic to the local environment and local community.”

His comments were reflected in a speech during the debate on the Environment and Sustainability Committee’s Report on Energy and Planning in Wales.