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Lack of Westminster funding for electric grid holding Wales back, Prime Minister warned

10 Nov 2022 2 minute read
Pylon picture by Michael Ely (CC BY-SA 2.0). Right, Liz Saville Roberts.

Wales will struggle with high energy prices and be unable to realise its renewables potential unless the UK Government invests in the National Grid, the Prime Minister has been warned.

In a question following a statement about the PM’s appearance at COP27, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts drew attention to recent findings of the Welsh Affairs Committee, which said that many renewable energy projects that are ready to be built are being held back amid uncertainty over how they will connect to the grid.

The barriers identified by the Committee include the regulatory framework not allowing anticipatory investment, delays in planning consent and high upfront connection costs making many projects financially unviable. 

Ms Saville Roberts will be seeking a further meeting after Mr Sunak said he would be happy to discuss with her, and agreed that “we need to ensure that we invest in our grid to enable the transition”.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (9 November), Ms Saville Roberts said: “At COP27, the Prime Minister boasted about the UK’s investment in renewables, yet a recent report by the Welsh Affairs Committee warned that Wales’s renewable energy potential is ‘threatened by a lack of UK Government leadership on improving grid connectivity’.

“The Prime Minister mentioned a number of worthwhile, good projects in the pipeline in Wales, but, without that connectivity, many of them are under threat.

“Will he set out an accelerated timetable for improving grid capacity so that Wales can realise its full potential in energy generation and, in so doing, slash bills for communities throughout Wales?”

Rishi Sunak responded: “The right hon. Lady is right that we need to ensure that we invest in our grid to enable the transition. That is an absolutely fair point and I know it is something the National Grid is focused on. I would be happy to get more into it and discuss it with her in the future.”


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Gareth Cemlyn Jones
Gareth Cemlyn Jones
26 days ago

Under investment in Grid infrastructure is a major issue. The National Grid should never have been privatised. We now have a multi national company concerned more with their shareholders and profits, with no mandate to keep the lights on.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
26 days ago

It would make a gret deal more sense to spend government money sorting out the Grid in Wales so that all our local renewable projects can proceed than sinking it in experimental mini-nuclear reactors to produce power for England. If the latter are so wonderful, then build them in England close to where the power is required.

Cat
Cat
26 days ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Agreed. We need a national grid in Wales and then be able to manage the power that goes over the border and charge for it appropriately. I’d also add that the current ban on onshore wind in England is sending onshore companies into Wales with 20 planning applications submitted by one company alone – a company which looks so severely underfunded that it must be looking to get planning permission then sell it on. Two of our local planning applications for onshore wind have NO associated planning which links them to the national grid. We already have one windfarm in… Read more »

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
26 days ago
Reply to  Cat

The sad thing about these onshore wind proposals is none of them are actually needed as offshore wind is sufficient to reach net zero and is now cheaper than onshore

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
26 days ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

We have so much offshore potential that any other thermal generation, nuclear or not, that can be sited virtually anywhere, should not be put in Wales as it just unnecessarily fills the grid. The best place for nuclear is near big urban areas with minimal grid connections and a use for the waste heat in district heating

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
26 days ago

National Grid have their hands full connecting GW scale offshore wind farms and think the “little” MW scale onshore stuff should connect to the distribution grid

The distribution grids have their hands full increasing capacity getting power to places, not from places

I can’t see any incentive to get small onshore generation connected to the transmission system

North Wales is destined to be a net exporter to SE England based on offshore wind alone, and Wales can reach net zero using just offshore wind. The future is at sea and our grid needs to facilitate that

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

Well done Liz…sounds like you have his ear…

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