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Wales targets additional 4.5 GW of wind power in the Celtic Sea

In a groundbreaking meeting held on 28th February in Brussels, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, engaged in discussions with top representatives of the European wind industry, including WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson and Manon Kynaston of RenewableUK Cymru. The focus of the talks was centered around how Wales can optimize its wind resources, generate value for local communities, and bolster its economy through the expansion of onshore and offshore wind energy.

Wales, currently boasting 1.2 GW of onshore wind and 730 MW of offshore wind, is ambitiously eyeing the development of an additional 4.5 GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea by 2035. The goal is to have renewables contribute 100% of Wales’ electricity by the same year, with wind power already supplying 70% of the country's renewable electricity.

The meeting delved into the potential benefits for local communities, emphasizing the positive impact of wind energy on job creation, investment, and community funds. Presently, wind farms contribute £6.5 million annually to communities residing near these installations, with some even adopting co-ownership models.

The Welsh Government's vision is not without its hurdles. While the plan promises significant economic value, challenges such as infrastructural investment, logistical support, and regulatory consent need to be addressed. The Crown Estate is expected to open a tender for the right to develop 4.5 GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea, sparking potential economic opportunities for locations like Port Talbot and Milford Haven.

Mark Drakeford, expressing the Welsh Government's unwavering commitment to renewable energy targets, highlighted collaboration with industry, the Crown Estate, UK Government, local communities, and European partners as pivotal for success. Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, echoed the sentiment, underscoring the immense opportunities for local industries such as steel and ports. Manon Kynaston, Assistant Director of RenewableUK Cymru, emphasized the critical role of the Welsh Government in attracting inward investment and providing a stable policy environment for Wales to compete globally.

As Wales aims to transform into a wind energy powerhouse, the European wind industry pledges to closely collaborate with the Welsh Government to overcome challenges and pave the way for a sustainable and green future.


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