Renewable Energy

1. Questions to the First Minister – in the Senedd at on 20 February 2024.

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Photo of Paul Davies Paul Davies Conservative

(Translated)

6. What is the Welsh Government doing to support the renewable energy sector in Preseli Pembrokeshire? OQ60681

Photo of Mark Drakeford Mark Drakeford Labour 2:25, 20 February 2024

Llywydd, the sector in the Member's constituency has huge potential to meet our energy needs while retaining wealth and value in Wales. We are streamlining planning and consenting processes, leading strategic work on energy plans and working to maximise the potential for new technologies, including floating offshore wind.

Photo of Paul Davies Paul Davies Conservative 2:26, 20 February 2024

I'm grateful to you for that answer, First Minister. Now, you'll be aware of the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables programme, which is delivered by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, in partnership with Floventis Energy, the developer of Llŷr 1 and 2 in the Celtic sea. Now, the programme helps businesses bid for work in the floating offshore wind sector by giving Welsh businesses the skills and expertise to deliver success in this rapidly growing industry. So, First Minister, will you join with me in welcoming the programme and the investment made by Floventis in the supply chain? And can you tell us what the Welsh Government is specifically doing to build on this work and support Welsh businesses in the renewable energy sector for the future? 

Photo of Mark Drakeford Mark Drakeford Labour

I thank the Member for that question and for the clear and consistent support that he gives to this sector, which will do so much to help people in his part of Wales. Maybe I'll give just one example of a very recent action, because I wrote yesterday to the Prime Minister to support the UK Government's intention to give the Crown Estate the ability to borrow against the assets that it holds, particularly in central London. This is a commitment that the UK Government has made, and yesterday I wrote to the Prime Minister both to support that, but to urge him as well to bring that very small piece of legislation in front of the House of Commons as rapidly as possible. Because one of the things that the Crown Estate impressed upon me and the Minister for Climate Change, when we both participated in the potential bidders event in Swansea on 31 January, was that if they were able to borrow against those assets, then they would use some of that to invest in the supply chain here in Wales, in just the way that Paul Davies has described the actions of Floventis.

Now, the Crown Estate recognise that, if we are to make maximum use of the opportunity that is there in the Celtic sea, we will need to prepare a supply chain in advance of that development, ready to be able to do the job we wanted to do in Wales to retain those jobs here. I think they're a willing partner in that. I think the UK Government's commitment to allow them to borrow is a good one, and the Welsh Government will certainly support them in bringing forward that legislation.