Energy Review

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Opposition Whip (Commons) 11:30 am, 21st March 2007

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues and Welsh Assembly Ministers following the energy review.

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

Numerous ones, as we want to combat climate change and secure our future energy supply.

Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Opposition Whip (Commons)

I thank the Secretary of State for his response. In the light of the energy review's acknowledgment of nuclear power as an essential component of the energy mix, will he confirm that any proposal to replace the Wylfa power station with a new station would have his enthusiastic support?

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

Yes, and I have told the local Member of Parliament, my hon. Friend Albert Owen, and the local county council that I back their request to have the replacement, Wylfa B, put in place. That will provide enormous opportunities for Anglesey.

Photo of Elfyn Llwyd Elfyn Llwyd Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Skills), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Microgeneration is also an important facet of the energy mix. If I write to the Secretary of State, will he please investigate what has happened to the Dolgarrog wood-burning scheme, which would have provided energy for the whole of that part of the valley? It seems to have hit the buffers on funding. Will he liaise with his colleagues in the National Assembly to see whether that important model, which might be a template for many other places, can be restarted?

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I would be happy to do that and to work with the hon. Gentleman to encourage microgeneration wherever possible. It is essential that Wales becomes a world leader in renewable energy. Whether in microgeneration of the kind that he describes, wind power, wave power, tidal power or the Severn barrage, Wales has a tremendous opportunity to be at the forefront of such developments.

Photo of Betty Williams Betty Williams Labour, Conwy

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the new research and enterprise partnership launched at Westminster yesterday by the university of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the university of Wales, Bangor, with its emphasis on the development of new technologies, products and services, will have the opportunity to contribute significantly to sustainable, energy-efficient development in Wales, the UK and internationally?

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I agree with my hon. Friend, and I commend her and the work going on at Bangor university, which I visited last year. I was enormously impressed by its attempt to make Wales a leader in the fight against climate change. We therefore hope that Opposition parties will back our policies to make sure that renewable, clean energy is the dominant energy supply in Wales.

Photo of David Jones David Jones Shadow Minister (Wales)

The energy White Paper has still not been published, despite being promised for the beginning of this year. That delay is caused by the Government's admitted failures to consult over the energy review. It is now certain that Wylfa nuclear power station will close in 2010. Will the Secretary of State tell the House how the Government propose to make up for the loss of generating capacity as a result of Wylfa's closure? Why did the Government not act sooner to formulate their energy policy so as to secure the electricity supply in Wales?

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

We are confident that an electricity supply will be secured for Wales. It will certainly be secured if the hon. Gentleman changes his policy on the giant Gwynt-y-Môr wind farm project 9 miles off the north Wales coast, which is capable of powering nearly half the households in Wales. He has opposed that, and the Leader of the Opposition has opposed it, despite putting a little windmill on his home in Notting Hill—a lot of good that will do. There is a prospect of massive electricity generation—