Renewable energy in Wales Contents



Energy Generation in Wales

1.Around 58,000 people work in the energy and environment sectors in Wales, generating over £4.8 billion in revenue. Rapid innovation is taking place in areas of marine energy initiatives and low-carbon projects. Wales currently has 86 operational wind farms, the potential to generate around 10 GW from marine energy, a wide mix of hydro-related companies, a mature solar energy sector and a tidal range capable of providing significant generation opportunities along the Welsh coastline.1

2.Wales harnesses energy from a diverse range of renewable energy sources. Of these sources, wind (both onshore and offshore) provides the most renewable electricity. 145 MW of new renewable electrical capacity was commissioned in Wales in 2019. This brings the total electrical capacity to 3,372 MW from 56,807 installations.2 Despite this increase in capacity, only 26.9% of Wales’ electricity generation 2019 came from renewables - as opposed to 61.1% in Scotland, 44.6% in Northern Ireland and 33% in England.3

3.The rapid growth of renewable energy has been a critical feature of the decarbonisation of the power sector. In Wales, renewable generation capacity has grown from 789 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to 3,540MW in 2019, an increase of 449%. 7.5% of the UK’s current renewable energy generation capacity is in Wales, compared to 63.3% in England, 25.2% in Scotland and 4% in Northern Ireland.4 According to the Welsh Government, in 2019 there were 72,834 renewable energy projects in Wales, 3,841 more than in 2018.5

Current targets

4.In April 2021, the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, announced new climate change commitments which are intended to set the UK on course to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035. The Prime Minister’s commitments, which will become law, bring forward the previous target for reducing carbon emissions by 15 years. This would be a world-leading position. For the first time, climate law will be extended to cover international aviation and shipping.6

5.In 2017, the Welsh Government announced their target of meeting 70% of Wales’ electricity demand from Welsh renewable electricity sources by 2030. In 2019, it was estimated that over half (51%) of Wales’ energy needs were met through renewable energy generation. The Welsh Government has additionally set a target for at least 1 GW of renewable energy capacity to be locally owned by 2030. Wales is 83% of the way towards meeting its local ownership target—with 825 MW of renewable energy capacity currently under local ownership. There is an additional expectation for all new energy projects in Wales to have at least an element of local ownership from 2020.7


6.The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be held in Glasgow 1–12 November 2021. The summit will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change. The summit will provide a significant opportunity for Wales to showcase its achievements in fighting climate change and lowering emissions on a global stage. At our Ministerial session, David T.C. Davies MP, Under-Secretary of State for Wales, informed us that the COP President has been meeting regularly with the Welsh Government and that Welsh stakeholders are already applying to be present at the conference.8

Our inquiry

7.On 23 November 2020, we launched our inquiry into Renewable Energy in Wales. The inquiry focused on how the UK Government, in co-operation with Welsh Ministers, can best support the development of renewable energy in Wales.

8.To inform our work we have taken evidence from a range of stakeholders, including academic and financial experts, industry representatives, renewable energy developers and UK Government ministers. We also received written evidence submissions from various organisations, and we would like to thank everyone that contributed to our inquiry. A full list of those who have provided oral and written evidence can be found at the back of this report.

1 Trade and Invest Wales, Energy and Environment

2 Welsh Government (September 2019), Energy Generation in Wales 2018

3 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (22 December 2020), Electricity generation and supply in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, 2016 to 2019

4 UK Government. (REW0044)

5 Welsh Government (October 2020), Energy Generation in Wales 2019

7 Welsh Government (September 2019), Energy Generation in Wales 2018

8 Q155.

Published: 29 July 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement