Subsidy uncertainty, planning and development risks and grid constrains are the three key barriers to investment in renewable energy projects in Wales as identified in the Institute of Welsh Affairs' (IWA) report published yesterday. The report titled "Re-energising Wales: Funding renewable energy projects in Wales" places particular emphasis on the role that Welsh pension funds can play in accelerating the development of renewable energy projects in Wales, as well as the role that the Welsh Government can play, including publishing annual reports on the actions that each department has taken to tackle carbon emissions and introducing business rate relief for renewable energy projects.
It makes a number of recommendations aimed at attracting new investment, including:
Lobbying the UK Government to open future Contracts for Difference (CfD) rounds to onshore wind;
Developing a Welsh specific sustainable energy strategy, where renewable energy will have a prominent place;
Partnerships between Welsh pension funds, the Welsh Government and suitable community energy projects; and
Creation of a new "cooperative, charitable or not for profit" entity, which will support investment in Welsh renewable energy.
This report could not have been timed any better. It comes only a few hours after it was announced that the South Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone had been awarded the requisite funding to allow for the development of wave energy technology. Following even half of the recommendations of this report is bound to provide further boost to the Welsh renewable energy sector.
This entity could be an obvious local partner for developers and investment platforms such as Abundance to build significant renewable energy sites, creating joint investments. This body could develop projects that are wholly community owned and also facilitate shared ownership opportunities on larger scale energy projects,” the report says. Louise Wilson, co-founder and managing director of peer-to-peer investment platform Abundance, said: “Wales has a wealth of untapped renewable energy resources and Abundance welcomes this IWA report on how to unlock more investment and deliver on the country’s ambitions People throughout the UK have already invested £40m directly in renewable energy through Abundance, and Wales deserves its own share of the pot. We hope the Welsh Government will take the report’s recommendations on board to help the sector reach its potential"