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Renewable energy 'map' launched  

Proposals mapping out plans for Wales to become self-sufficient in renewable energy within 20 years will be launched by the Welsh Assembly Government later.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson will highlight how much clean energy Wales should produce from wind, marine and biomass sources.

The consultation paper is expected to say Wales would also significantly contribute to the UK’s energy needs.

Environmentalists said they hoped the map would strongly support wind power.

Ms Davidson will launch the so-called “route map” on renewable energy in Cwmbran later.

It is believed it will suggest Wales could create far more electricity than it consumes with around half coming from marine sources, a third from wind and most of the rest from sustainable biomass.

The assembly government said the ambitious programme would demonstrate to the world what even small countries can do to maximise use of their natural renewable resources.

It said that along with plans for energy efficiency, skills and research and development, it would be a major step towards making Wales a low carbon energy economy.

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) expressed concern that Wales was “lagging behind” on its current targets.

John Woodruff, BWEA Cymru chairman, said: “The energy routemap must have teeth, setting out clear targets for delivering increased wind energy.

“Wind presents great economic opportunities and the potential for Wales to become a world class centre of excellence for the development and manufacturing of low carbon technologies.”

‘Severe threat’

Friends of the Earth Cymru (FoE) said the draft proposals had to give strong support for wind energy, which it claims is the most advanced and cost-effective renewable energy technologies and could deliver immediate reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Gordon James, FoE director, said: “We hope that the energy route map will recognise the severity of the threat posed by climate change and strongly back solutions that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions as quickly as possible.”

The group also called for the map to reject proposals for a Severn barrage, claiming the £15bn cost could be better spent generating more energy in a less time from other sources and low carbon schemes.

Morgan Parry, head of WWF Cymru, said: “Big bold decisions must be made early on in order for a report such as this to really impact positively on the bigger picture.

“All credible parties agree that the quickest, cheapest and most effective route to reducing CO2 emissions is to reduce energy demand in the first place.”

This would include making existing homes more energy efficient and making new buildings zero carbon, he said.

In July 2005, the Welsh Assembly Government identified seven areas across Wales it had chosen for the development of wind farms.

Its aim was to increase the energy from renewable sources by 10% by 2010.

BBC News

19 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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