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Renewable Energy Projects

Volume 628: debated on Wednesday 6 September 2017

The Government are committed to supporting renewable energy to deliver more secure, cleaner energy. For example, in March we gave consent for the Glyn Rhonwy pumped storage project, which will support other renewable technologies by capturing and storing excess energy from solar or wind. It will support 250 full- time jobs at peak construction, and it is a great example of the essential role that Wales plays in energy supply.

Following on from questions from the hon. Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Parish) and my hon. Friends the Members for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen) and for Neath (Christina Rees), the issue of the tidal lagoon does need a response from the Government. It is eight months since the review. Will the Minister say now when the Government will publish their response? There is a very real risk that the investors that are needed to fund the project will walk away unless a decision is made very soon by the Government.

In the previous Parliament, the hon. Lady was an Opposition Front-Bench Treasury spokesman, so she will be aware that we need to analyse the benefits and costs of a tidal lagoon. The decision will be made and announced in due course by the relevant Ministers.

There is great support for the tidal lagoon in my constituency, where GE Energy would manufacture the turbines. Is the Minister concerned that our lead in this sector might be lost if we do not make a swift decision?

Having read the Hendry review, I am aware of the technology’s possible benefits to industry across the UK. That is why we are giving such serious consideration to the report produced by Charles Hendry.

Community hydro schemes throughout Wales have faced business rates increases of up to 900%. In Scotland there is 100% relief and in England there is a cap, but Labour Ministers in Wales are sitting on their hands. I am told that the basic problem is made here in London because of the regulations. Will the Minister meet me and representatives of the sector to seek a full and quick solution?

The hon. Gentleman’s constituency, like mine, has a number of hydro projects, and I would be more than delighted to meet him to discuss where the problems lie. My understanding is that the problems lie in Cardiff, with the Labour Government, but I am more than happy to meet the hon. Gentleman to make sure that we deal with this.