Daily Post Column
November 8th 2016

This week is Ocean Energy Week and I will be attending the Europe 2016 Conference and Exhibition in Brussels. Wales will be represented there, of course, as we are planning a world first in ocean energy. Wales has a huge amount of coastline relative to our size - 870 miles of it in fact. We have already made our mark with our amazing coastal path. Now we have a chance to put our nation on the world stage in energy terms.

It is also relevant that this takes place against the backdrop of the latest UN Climate Change conference in Marrakesh and the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on 4th November. It demonstrates that Wales could play a major role in combatting the worst effects of climate change in the future by providing clean, green energy.

We are awaiting the go-ahead for the proposed prototype Swansea tidal lagoon but that could be followed by a much larger tidal lagoon proposed for Colwyn Bay by the same company, Tidal Lagoon Power. For two years, there have been meetings with the local community and a lot of enthusiastic support.

Not only does tidal power provide an unlimited source of huge amounts of power, but a tidal lagoon could also have the function of a flood defence in Colwyn Bay, which in the past has been greatly affected by severe flooding.

I fully support this development of tidal energy in local public ownership so that the profits directly benefit the local communities. It is great that local people are able to buy shares in these projects and feel a real part of the exciting developments. The Tidal Lagoon power company has already promised that 50% of the budgets of its Colwyn Bay and Swansea projects will be spent in Wales. That is the kind of public procurement that Plaid Cymru has long called for and which will create jobs and help build local communities and our national economy. It would also help promote tourism, and foster education, sport and the arts.

It would put Wales on the map as a world-leader in this energy field. The potential we have in Wales is huge. In the uncertain years ahead of us, we need to invest in and promote projects like this where we can not only build the best but also create a new Welsh industry.

Ends.

Photo: Jill Evans