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Welsh onshore wind “seriously compromised” by Westminster

A joint statement by two Welsh Government ministers says the future development and deployment of onshore wind in Wales is being hit by decisions made in Westminster.

The statement was published as a written answer by minister for economy, science and transport Edwina Hart (pictured), and Carl Sargeant, minister for natural resources.

It said: “We are issuing this statement in response to recent announcements by UK Government regarding onshore wind and in particular to feedback we have received from the wind and wider renewables sector.

“Future development and deployment of onshore wind in Wales is being seriously compromised by decisions taken in Westminster.  These will have far reaching implications for jobs, investment and community benefit funds as well as reducing the ability of the Welsh Government to meet our own carbon reduction targets and also deliver on the UK and EU commitments.”

The pair claimed that the early closure of the Renewables Obligation mechanism has compromised a number of large scale projects in Wales.

The government recently rejected five of the six projects seeking planning permission for the Powys conjoined enquiry. The statement cited the decision as “disappointing development”.

The two ministers wrote: “These developments, and the ongoing uncertainty around whether onshore wind projects will be allowed to access future Contract for Difference rounds, have far reaching consequences in terms of immediate investment and employment by onshore wind developers and their supply chain in Wales, especially in the rural areas where projects are typically situated. This will also have huge reputational damage in terms of the UK’s credentials on green growth and our ability to decarbonise.”

The ministers called for the government to give full consideration to, and further engage with, the Welsh Government and project developers when making decisions.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: “Our priorities are to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective way and also keeping bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses. Government support has already driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly, helping technologies to stand on their own two feet.”

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