Friday 6 September 2013
Energy and Climate Change
A Unified Welsh Power Grid
The Petition of Gruffydd Meredith,
Declares that the current and historical energy map of Wales shows all the classic indicators of an extractive economy, with the extractive drainage lines either extending east out of Wales or to the ports; further that Wales is already greatly more than self-sufficient in electricity generation, producing at least twice more electricity than what we use but most of this is given to the UK national grid and then sold back to us; further that future renewable energy projects for Wales show that we could be easily producing at least four times more than we use if we realised basic achievable renewable energy projects (including tidal lagoons and the Severn estuary instead of a barrage) and this without even mentioning the possibility of clean coal and methane gas extraction, which could make this figure higher again; further that joining the currently unconnected electricity lines could be done with specially designed pylons that blend in with the Welsh environment, by underground cables or by placing undersea cables in Cardigan Bay and this would mean that all of Wales’ energy production is quantifiable and our abundant excess energy can be exported and providing potentially thousands of new jobs.
The Petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons make the necessary amendment to the Government of Wales Act 2006 and any other relevant act in order to facilitate the development of an unified Welsh power grid, joining the currently unconnected electricity lines on North, Mid and South Wales.
And the Petitioner remains etc.—[Presented by Kevin Brennan, Official Report, 16 July 2013; Vol. 566, c. 1062.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:
The single electricity market operating across Great Britain brings with it benefits to industry and consumers. Generators invest in plant in Wales with the expectation of unrestricted access to sell their electricity to the full British market. Their presence benefits the Welsh economy including through direct and indirect job creation. Furthermore, consumers in Wales benefit from the security of supply provided by a large integrated power network and from competition amongst all generators and suppliers across the wider market in Great Britain, which helps drive efficiencies and place downward pressure on electricity bills. This approach is consistent with the steps being taken by all EU Member States to ensure enhanced inter-connection and market integration across Europe in order to support a resilient and competitive European electricity market.
The integrated electricity network in Great Britain, and the legislative framework which underpins it, enables this nationwide electricity market to operate and ensures the network meets the needs of its users in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The Electricity Act (1989) already places an obligation on electricity transmission and distribution network companies to develop and maintain efficient, co-ordinated and economical networks. The fulfilment of this obligation is a matter for the network companies and Ofgem, as the independent regulator.
The generation of electricity and transmission, distribution and supply of electricity are non-devolved matters in respect to Wales, and are specifically excepted in Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act. The Government consider it important these issues continue to be dealt with strategically on a Great Britain-wide basis, particularly in the light of the UK’s transition to a low-carbon energy mix, which requires significant investment in energy infrastructure across the country.