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This briefing does not provide a comprehensive overview of all energy policy issues in Wales, and covers a selection of issues likely to be addressed in the Westminster Hall debate Energy Policy in Wales at 1.30pm on 14 September 2017.

This brieifng covers:

  • UK and Welsh energy policy priorities, including statistics on energy prices in Wales and the rest of the UK
  • Marine energy, including an overview of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project; and
  • New nuclear power, specifically the plans and proposals for a new nuclear power station in Anglesey at Wylfa Newydd.

GB energy policy: an overview

The UK Government is responsible for regulating the UK oil and gas industry and the electricity industry, including the generation, transmission, distribution and supply. So, although the Wales Act 2016 devolved more energy policy responsibilities to the Welsh Assembly, it is still largely a reserved policy area. The Welsh Assembly and Government has responsibility for: the licencing and granting of consent for onshore oil and gas projects, all onshore wind projects, renewable energy projects under 350MW that are developed in the Wales inshore and offshore regions and the promotion of energy efficiency.

The UK Government’s energy policy priorities aim to tackle the ‘energy trilemma’—the challenge of ensuring secure energy supplies alongside affordability and reduced emissions. To do this the Government’s priorities are to:

  • Ensure the UK has a secure and resilient energy system;
  • Keep energy bills as low as possible for households and businesses;
  • Secure ambitious international action on climate change and reduce carbon emissions cost-effectively at home; and
  • Manage the UK’s energy legacy safely and responsibly.

Energy policy: Wales

The Welsh Government’s overarching approach to energy policy was set out in Energy Wales: A low carbon transition, published in 2012, which committed the Government:

  • To use energy more efficiently;
  • To reduce reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels; and
  • To actively manage the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs reaffirmed the Welsh Government’s commitment to these policies in an oral statement to the Welsh Assembly on 6 December 2016, saying:

This Government remains committed to the ambitions set out in ‘Energy Wales’. I have three clear priorities for this Assembly. First, we will reduce the amount of energy we use in Wales. Second, we will reduce our reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels. Third, we will actively manage the transition to a low-carbon economy. We will drive this transition to deliver maximum benefits for Wales, providing strategic leadership, and reducing uncertainty. We must continue to grow the economy at the same time as reducing emissions and managing affordability. I will ensure our policies and support are aligned and work towards delivering a low-carbon energy system for Wales. 

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