A new energy strategy has been launched that aims to transform how energy is used across north Wales. The North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) has worked with the Welsh Government and the Welsh Government Energy Service (WGES) to develop the new strategy - aiming to bring the region a step closer to government net-zero carbon target for 2050.
The strategy looks to address current pressing matters including climate change, economic growth, and post COVID-19 economic recovery. Whilst it recognises that the scale of the challenge is significant, the strategy also aims to maximise economic opportunities for region.
To deliver the vision outlined in the strategy, the North Wales Energy Strategy Group has been established to develop, implement and coordinate the actions necessary. The first meeting took place during this Summer.
Llinos Medi, Lead Member of the Energy Programme from the NWEAB said:
“We have an opportunity post pandemic to make sure that our recovery strategies have a carbon reduction focus. The awareness around the need to tackle climate change has never been higher and we’re well placed here in north Wales to contribute to this agenda with our low carbon and renewable energy projects.
“This strategy will provide the region with significant economic recovery and growth opportunities. And whilst we understand the scale of the challenge, the economic opportunities are significant.”
To achieve the government’s net-zero carbon targets, an overall 55% reduction in energy related emissions by 2035 is needed across key sectors including transport, in homes, as well as commercial and industrial use. The Regional Energy Strategy, aims to do just this, by decarbonising energy systems but also by maximising the economic benefits of shifting to a low carbon economy.
The hope is that the Strategy will deliver the local economic, social, ecological and wellbeing benefits and help ensure north Wales can become a world leader in a net zero economy. As well as the environmental benefits it is estimated that delivering the ‘strategy’ has the potential to create up to 24,400 additional jobs and increase the region’s GVA by £2.4billion.
Before COVID-19, both Welsh Government and UK Government expected the low carbon economy to grow faster than any other sector. The potential growth is now considered to be even greater.
Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “This ground-breaking Energy Strategy has the potential to make a huge difference by creating new and exciting opportunities for north Wales.
“Having a plan that is owned by local communities and businesses, reflecting their priorities and building on their strengths, rather than waiting for the market to deliver, is crucial in Wales securing a fair and sustainable low carbon future.
“Planning a low carbon energy system around locally agreed priorities have developed important partnerships. This collaborative working will be vital to ensure this strategy delivers for people right across North Wales.”