AM in ap­peal for pub­licly-owned en­ergy firm to de­liver la­goon

South Wales Evening Post - - NEWS - LIZ PERKINS @lizperkin­spost • 01792 545551 el­iz­a­beth.perkins@me­di­

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.”

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