Wales’s renewable energy policy is ill thought-out and failing, an AM has claimed.
South Wales West AM Alun Cairns (pictured) said wind farms were unpopular and ineffective, while the much-talked about Severn barrage would damage the environment too much to be justified.
Assembly Environment Minister Jane Davidson hit back during the Senedd debate, saying things were moving in the right direction.
But she admitted wind farms would not contribute as much electricity to the overall renewable supply as had been planned.
Mr Cairns told the Post: “The Assembly Government’s policy on renewable energy is ill thought-out, failing and desperate.
“People object to wind farms, and justifiably so. It has been proven elsewhere that wind energy is pretty ineffective in that it does not remove the need for fossil-fuel burning power stations.”
He added: “Now the panic over missing our renewable energy targets means the Assembly Government is looking at a Severn barrage which would cost £15 billion to £25 billion.
“It would need 29 million tonnes of aggregate in its construction. That’s a third of all of the dredging from the last century in the Bristol Channel just for one project, with serious consequences for marine life, the coastline and local environment.
Ms Davidson said: “We are very much going in the right direction and I do not recognise the picture you have tried to paint.”
Wales could become self-sufficient in low carbon electricity thanks to natural resources such as wind, tidal power and forests, she said. From 2011 all new buildings would be zero carbon and three per cent year on year targets to reduce greenhouse gases come into effect.
But she added: “Progress in some ways has not been as fast as we would have liked and onshore wind will not contribute as much towards meeting our 2010 targets as originally envisaged.”
By Richard Youle
13 October 2007
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