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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 10:42 GMT
'Clean, green' energy plans out
Windfarm
Wind power is among the sources the assembly government wants to use
Plans for a "lean, clean and green" Wales, making it self-sufficient in renewable energy within 20 years, have been launched.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson said "sensitively but extensively exploited" use of wind, marine and biomass energy could make this happen.

She said Wales could "lead the battle" against climate change, as its coal powered the industrial revolution.

A deadline of 13 May for responses from the public has been set.

Ms Davidson launched the so-called "route map" on renewable energy in Cwmbran.

'Lagging behind'

"Our small country is already taking steps on the road towards a low carbon energy economy," she said.

"Just as we led the world in energy development during the 19th Century when our coal powered the industrial revolution, we again have a great opportunity to lead in the battle against climate change.

"If everyone in Wales works together on this I am confident that our community can make a very real contribution to tackling one of the biggest problems facing the world community."

ROUTE MAP PROPOSALS
Document
Encourage wave and tidal energy with "minimum environmental distrubance"
Proceed in a "measured way" to use Wales's wind resource
Change planning guidance to make it easier for people to install wind turbines, solar panels etc at home
Explore new options for river hydroelectric power
Make the most of biomass such as forests, crops or residual waste materials
Ensure all new buildings in Wales are built to the highest possible low carbon standards
Develop a strong "green jobs" strategy
Source: Welsh Assembly Government

The document suggests Wales could create far more electricity than it consumes with around half coming from marine sources.

Another third would come from expanding wind energy and most of the rest from sustainable biomass - turning wood, crops and waste into energy.

The assembly government said the ambitious programme would demonstrate to the world what even small countries can do to maximise use of their natural renewable resources.

It said that along with plans for energy efficiency, skills and research and development, it would be a major step towards making Wales a low carbon energy economy.

Friends of the Earth Cymru (FoE) said the aim to be self-sufficient in renewable energy was "ambitious, but it is the right ambition".

Gordon James, FoE director, said: "We particularly welcome the commitment to raise the target for renewable energy, and the recognition of the key role that wind energy must play if we are to reach any targets at all.

"Wind energy is the most advanced renewable energy technology, and it can make a difference now."

However, the group said it supported large tidal lagoons rather than the idea of a Severn barrage.

Ms Davidson believes the targets could still be reached, whether the barrage goes ahead or not.

Before the announcement, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) expressed concern that Wales was "lagging behind" on its current targets.

John Woodruff, BWEA Cymru chairman, said: "The energy routemap must have teeth, setting out clear targets for delivering increased wind energy.

"Wind presents great economic opportunities and the potential for Wales to become a world class centre of excellence for the development and manufacturing of low carbon technologies."

Morgan Parry, head of WWF Cymru, said: "Big bold decisions must be made early on in order for a report such as this to really impact positively on the bigger picture.

"All credible parties agree that the quickest, cheapest and most effective route to reducing CO2 emissions is to reduce energy demand in the first place."

This would include making existing homes more energy efficient and making new buildings zero carbon, he said.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Wales aims to be self-sufficient in renewable energy



SEE ALSO
Tidal power farm plan off coast
07 Feb 08 |  North West Wales
School to produce own electricity
01 Feb 08 |  North West Wales
Severn barrage details unveiled
22 Jan 08 |  England
Cow dung plan for housing energy
09 Jan 08 |  North East Wales

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