Minister slams UK Government as electric supply is secured at Baglan Energy Park
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has criticised the UK Government for failing to take action to resolve problems at an energy park in Neath Port Talbot and said its opposition to legal action taken by the Welsh Government was “staggering”.
Tenants of Baglan Energy Park previously received their electricity supply via a private wire network from an on-site gas-fired power station but in March 2021 the company that owned the network was placed into compulsory liquidation.
This resulted in the company’s operations, including the private wire network, becoming the responsibility of the UK Government’s Insolvency Service, who were tasked with winding down operations.
The Welsh Government subsequently launched legal action to prevent the UK Government’s Official Receiver from switching off the power supply and invested over £4m to build new electricity networks.
It’s estimated that up to 1,200 jobs would have been in jeopardy because of the loss of power.
On a visit to the site, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to visit Baglan Energy Park to meet some of the businesses impacted by more than a year of uncertainty around their energy supply. There is no doubt this has been a very stressful and uncertain time for them.
“When the UK Government refused to act, the Welsh Government intervened. If we had not acted then, serious long term harm could have been caused.
“The action we have taken came at significant cost to the Welsh Government. However, I am confident that it was time and money well spent. We have been able to successfully avoid the risk of major job losses, flood incidents and potential environmental pollution.
“This has been an incredibly frustrating time. It is staggering that the UK Government actively opposed our action in the courts to protect jobs, the environment, and the health of tens of thousands of people.
“In taking this action, the Welsh Government stood up for the people of Wales. This is yet another great example of devolution in action.”
The Welsh Government invested over £4m to support Western Power Distribution rapidly design and build replacement networks at the site, which could have taken over two years with the extra support.
The new electricity connections – which are directly powered through the National Grid – are now complete, with most customers connected to the new network.
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