Plaid Cymru calls for Welsh energy independence

  • Calls for more devolution to help country achieve energy independence
  • Welsh party urges Westminster support for sustainability 
  • Welsh energy company to be given more of a role
Plaid Cymru calls for energy independence for Wales in its manifesto

Plaid Cymru wants Wales to have energy independence 

Plaid Cymru has called for Wales to be given energy independence so that it can better support communities and help households cut bills and emissions. 

As part of its 2024 general election manifesto, the party said Wales should be given more autonomy over building energy supply chains and projects to achieve its green transition.

It also said it would expand community-owned renewable energy generation across Wales and push for the expansion of the national energy company for Wales, Ynni Cymru.

Additionally, it would devolve the responsibilities of Ofgem to Wales so that the energy grids and markets align Wales with “emerging UK, European and global standards”. 

Furthermore, it also wants a long term plan to retrofit properties in order to bring down households’ energy bills in its 2024 general election manifesto and called upon the UK government to support families and businesses. 

The Welsh party said this policy would require a commitment from the government to develop the workforce necessary to install eco-friendly technologies in homes and achieve net zero emissions. 

Plaid Cymru’s sustainability policies at a glance:

  • Supporting the retrofitting households to improve energy efficiency 
  • Devolve Ofgem and more energy autonomy to Wales
  • Oppose new nuclear power stations 
  • Support the launch of a Welsh energy company 
  • Look into large-scale solar development projects to improve renewable capacity

Making homes energy efficient

Plaid Cymru says making more homes more energy efficient would bring down energy costs. 

This is consistent with most of the other parties’ plans, with the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens all promising to support making homes more energy efficient to varying degrees. 

“We support a long-term plan for retrofitting existing properties that would make them more energy efficient, thereby reducing costs and carbon emissions,” the party said. 

“This will require government support, particularly while households are in such economically challenging circumstances, and requires investment and commitment to developing a skilled workforce capable of delivering this programme of work across the country.”

However, Plaid Cymru’s retrofitting policies are significantly less detailed than any of those four, and there is little mention of what they will offer; insulation, solar panels, heat pumps, or all of them?

This may be because even if Plaid Cymru were to succeed in Wales, they would still be dependent on whichever party walks into Number 10 Downing Street and they don’t want to make promises if they’re not sure Westminster will deliver. 

Saying that, it would be good to know what the party’s specific retrofitting priorities would be and if they support the same technology and scale of installation proposed by the national parties.  

As well as wanting to retrofit homes, Plaid Cymru also want to introduce a Social Tariff for Energy to make household energy costs more manageable. 

Blaming the private energy market, the party said the increase in energy bills have “hugely affected households”. 

“There is no good reason why households in Wales, which produce more energy than it uses, have higher standing charges than in England,” the party said.   

“We would look to reduce these charges, saving money for all households.

“We want to see the introduction of a Social Tariff for Energy. Although prices are expected to fall during the Summer, when energy use is lower, it is anticipated to rise again in the Autumn and Winter.”

More devolution 

While it wants support from the UK government on retrofitting homes, Plaid Cymru have also made devolution central to their sustainability strategy. 

While most of the other main parties will push for energy independence for the UK as a whole, Plaid Cymru wants it specifically for Wales as well; and it wants the country to have total control over its energy so that it can “achieve a fair green transition” on its own terms.

In addition to devolving Ofgem, the party wants Wales to have full control of the Crown Estate in Wales so that it can benefit from existing energy projects, a level of devolution it says has already been given to Scotland. 

By doing this, the party says it will be able to develop local energy supply chains, reinvest money back into its industries and set its own standards for water control.

“These [energy] projects should be developed for the needs of Wales, rather than for extraction, and should be aligned with the electricity grid, planning system and other factors, to maximise positive outcomes for Wales,” it said.

Support the Welsh national energy company

As part of its plan to develop its own energy, Plaid Cymru wants to expand the role of Ynni Cymru to help the Welsh government control its energy supply and cut bills. 

Following on from this, the party wants to push for local communities to have more say over energy projects and to make it easier to benefit from them.

“We would push for changes to planning policies to give local communities a greater voice in determining what developments happen in their locality.”

The party said this would ensure that local voices are involved earlier in the planning stages of projects, so that local people have more say and ownership of these projects.

It would push for changes to how the National Grid is structured to help communities benefit directly from energy projects. 

The party said Wales is “paying the price for a legacy of decades of underinvestment in the grid. 

It claims this has resulted in “large bottlenecks for connection to distribution and transmission networks and will not achieve its carbon reduction targets if this issue isn’t resolved”. 

As part of its plan to have more control of its energy and also to preserve its natural landscape, Plaid Cymru wants to prioritise large scale solar projects and “alternative methods for linking renewable energy to the national grid should be implemented, e.g. through the undergrounding of cables.”

Written by:
Max joined The Eco Experts as content manager in February 2024. He has written about sustainability issues across numerous industries, including maritime, supply chain, finance, mining and retail. He has also written for  City AM, The Morning Star and the Daily Express.
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