The UK Government are committed to supporting renewable energy generation in Wales, including for innovative tidal stream technologies at Morlais through our flagship contracts for difference scheme. I will continue to work across Government to ensure that we can capitalise on the huge renewable energy opportunities Wales has to offer.
The best way to bring down bills for Welsh businesses long term is to help to transition away from fossil fuels. That is why Labour is calling for a national wealth fund, so we can help industries such as Welsh steel win the race in the future. What comparable steps will the Government take to help heavy industry decarbonise?
The Government have an ambitious programme to decarbonise the country by 2050, and we have provided £21.5 million to the south Wales industrial cluster to decarbonise heavy industry and support the transition to net zero. Of course, the opportunities for floating offshore wind in that region could be critical too.
A Labour Government will more than quadruple offshore wind to make the UK a clean energy superpower, making the most of the fantastic natural resources in Wales. When will the Government match that ambition so that sectors such as Welsh offshore wind can achieve their full potential?
As I mentioned in my previous answer, there is an ambitious programme for offshore wind, including floating offshore wind in south-west Wales and south-west England. There is an intention for 4 GW of power to be provided through the Celtic sea by 2035 and many more gigawatts in the future.
On this St David’s Day there are many reasons to be positive about the Welsh economy, not least the role that Wales will play in delivering greater energy security for the UK and helping move us to net zero. On that theme, would the Minister agree that we have a brilliant opportunity with the deployment of floating offshore wind in the Celtic sea, but we need the Government to go ahead and give us the Celtic freeport for south Wales? We also have a huge opportunity on Ynys Môn with the development of new gigawatt-scale nuclear power there.
Does the Minister agree that over recent months we have seen better co-operation between the European Union and the UK over energy? Does he agree that the Windsor framework will mean that we can go much further? That co-operation will release the potential for energy security and hopefully see prices come down, which will help Wales.
My right hon. and learned Friend is of course right that co-operation is always a good thing, and in fact interconnectors are critical to our energy security. Only last week I met a company proposing to connect mainland Great Britain with the Republic of Ireland through a second interconnector.
We know that oil and gas producers have been making record profits for more than 18 months, but the Government’s paltry windfall tax began in May last year. How can the Government justify leaving billions of pounds of excess profits untouched while so many people across Wales are struggling with household bills and the rising cost of living crisis?
Mercifully, energy costs now appear to be on a downward trajectory, but the hon. Gentleman will be aware that up to 70% in tax has been taken from energy producers through the windfall tax, which is bringing a great deal of money into the Treasury to help to fund the support packages that people are relying on.