AM in appeal for publicly-owned energy firm to deliver lagoon
A PUBLICLY-OWNED energy firm is needed to deliver the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, according to a city politician.
Plaid Cymru AM Dai Lloyd has called on the Welsh Government to step in and set up a publiclyowned energy company to deliver the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
The Swansea-based AM questioned First Minister Carwyn Jones on the issue on Tuesday at the Senedd.
Dr Lloyd said if the Welsh Government was serious about delivering the lagoon then it would “grab the bull by the horns” by establishing a National Energy Company for Wales.
He said he was disappointed by statements made by Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart over recent weeks where he said the development of the tidal lagoon needed to be led by the private sector.
Dr Lloyd said: “Plaid Cymru has a long-standing proposal for establishing a publicly-owned energy company.
This could see profits from Welsh resources used to cut the cost of energy for Welsh consumers and shift to decentralised and distributed networks.
“Wales has the potential to become self-sufficient in electricity from renewables and powering ahead with world-leading tidal energy technology. Managing our own natural resources would reap vast environmental and economic benefits for the people of Wales.
“Ever since the UK Government decided to refuse to back this lagoon scheme, I have felt that the Welsh Government needs to show how committed it is to delivering the scheme.
“By setting up a publicly-owned energy company, the Labour Welsh Government could bring this project alive.”
He mentioned the Labour Party’s 2017 Welsh manifesto commitment to supporting “the creation of publicly-owned, locally-accountable energy companies and cooperatives to rival existing private energy suppliers, with at least one in every region”, and added: “What is stopping the Labour Party from implementing this manifesto pledge and ensuring Wales invests in renewable energy?”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “In order to take the decision to establish a publiclyowned energy company we would need to be very clear of the need and potential benefits and risks, particularly as such a venture is likely to require a large amount of public money.
“Last year we held a series of conversations with partners about the potential of a publiclyowned energy supply company for Wales. The consensus at that time was that the challenges and risks to the Welshgovernment were seen to heavily outweigh the potential benefits.”