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Mark Drakeford: ‘Bring the National Grid under public control’

18 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Mark Drakeford (L) National Grid photo Nick Dimbleby/National Grid

The First Minister has accused the UK Government of having no offshore wind strategy and says he wants the National Grid brought under public control.

Speaking in First Minister’s Questions yesterday (17 January) Mr Drakeford made the comments in response to a question from Huw Irranca Davies MS for Ogmore.

When discussing the economic potential of renewable energy in the Celtic Sea, Mr Irranca Davies also spoke of the need for local grid connections to bring the electricity onshore.

“We need the National Grid to be strengthened as well … what discussions are you going to have with the UK Government, and the regulator … Wales deserves its fair share in the grid as well. We can do so much on our own but we need the UK to step up.”

Mr Drakeford said: “There is still no offshore wind industrial strategy out of the UK Government …  As to the grid – because it is called the National Grid people don’t realise that it’s a private company, listed on the stock market – distributing a billion pounds every year in dividends to shareholders.

“Indeed, it distributed £4.5 billion in 2017 alone directly into the hands of shareholders, when we know there’s not enough investment going into the vital connections the grid provides.”

Referring to an article he’d read this week by Professor of Green Economics, Molly Scott Cato, Mr Drakeford added:

“(It) said there are nearly 700 renewable energy projects on hold across the UK waiting for the National Grid to find them capacity. My own preference would to bring the National Grid under public control so that it would be run in the public interest, and where there was no leakage into private profits of the resources of that company.”

Natural Resources Wales

On the subject of supporting renewable energy projects in the Celtic Sea, Samuel Kurtz MS, wanted assurances that: “Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) will act in a timely manner to ensure these opportunities aren’t lost.”

Mark Drakeford said: “I have been in meetings with NRW myself and I know the Minister (Lesley Griffiths) has a meeting with NRW today to talk about the end-to-end marine licencing review.”

Adding that it was an independent review, Mr Drakeford said: “The consultants said that there was nothing fundamentally that needed to be repaired in the current regime but there were ways it could be made to work more effectively.”

Natural Resources Wales have a £241.9 million budget from the public purse in 2022-23.

Mr Drakeford said: “It is for NRW to ensure that they have the necessary resources in place to deal with those applications. In a way that respects the very important responsibilities they have as an environmental regulator but also to recognise the huge opportunities that renewable energy has for Wales.”


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Gareth Cemlyn Jones
Gareth Cemlyn Jones
15 days ago

The privatisation of this essential energy infrastructure was a mistake and should have never been considered. The company consistently supports its own shareholders with a complete disregard for the rural landscape, the environment and local sensitivities. A token removal of pylons in North Wales is not enough. We had several acrimonious meetings with NG representatives during discussions on their proposals to erect yet a second line of pylons across Anglesey to connect Wylfa B. NG are proud of their project to connect Scotland to England using a sub sea link, combined with undergrounding across the Wirral but would not entertain… Read more »

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
15 days ago

The Labour Party in Cymru are perpetually looking to Westminster to develop appropriate policy or begging for more money. Don’t they realise how pathetic this is, for a country like Cymru to constantly seek help from another? When will this 1000 year farce end? When will we have our independence? Why doesn’t the Labour Party in Cymru want to take full responsibility for governing their own country?

Last edited 15 days ago by Cwm Rhondda
Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
15 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Whilst I fully agree that Cymru should have full control of public utilities like the Grid there are a few problems standing in the way that will not be easy fo fix. Sorting out the grid will cost money and since the Tory Government has consistently cheated Cymru of its share of various funding headings, Cardiff is not awash with cash. The election of a Labout Government in the next English elections will probably not solve that problem as Starmer is a committed Colonialist. Secondly, there is the question of ‘legality’ and what powers have been devolved to Cardiff. As… Read more »

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
15 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

It is very important that Cymru has (nationalised) control of its bit of the National Grid. We are facing over-exploitation of our resources to service the excessive wants of others with nuclear and large-scale transmission infrastructure, whether undergrounded or not. This is at least a misallocation of economic resources. Of course, we can cooperate with the UK grid, but we need to ensure that GridCymru and energy planning is amenable to our local control. The energy sector must not be allowed to pre-empt our right to independence, real independence.

Richard
Richard
15 days ago

The NRA is hardly the example of best practice for any Welsh Gvt intervention of the Nat Grid ! Oversized, Out of Touch and beyond democratic Oversight ….

Last edited 15 days ago by Richard
Riki
Riki
14 days ago

Or Mark…. And I know this a crazy idea….Become a hero to Wales and seek independence like so many other before you should have. Tell the Germans of England who Gerrymandered their Way to Britain and Britishness to jog on. But of course you won’t do that, no matter how bad the people of Wales, who you supposed to represent are treated.

Gareth
Gareth
14 days ago

Sorry Mr Drakeford, but you dont stand a cat in hells chance of getting this done, not while the Torys are attempting to privatise the NHS, it’s the last big name on the list that has included gas the railways , steel and the post office. Just accept that this is part your insurance policy UK membership, and please get on with trying to get more money for health and education from London.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
14 days ago

Only Independence will achieve this Mark Drakeford. Are you any nearer getting down off the fence yet? Not for profit energy for Cymru!

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
12 days ago

Mr Drakeford you have missed the point. As with most suggestions you make about UK style nationalisation that would not mean that assets in Wales will benefit the people of Wales. If you mean it will be owned by the UK regime (UK Treasury) then we will be at the mercy of what the UK regime will give us in benefits. This will be worse for Wales than leaving it in the FTSE100. (Where individuals can buy shares). If you want NG to be owned in common then NG assets will have to be divided between our 4 nations. The… Read more »

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