Energy Entrepreneurs in Wales Now Generating £120m Worth of Power a Year

Energy entrepreneurs across Wales invested £51m in 59 new renewable energy projects last year, a new report reveals.

The spending by businesses, developers, farmers, landowners and communities means £273m has now been invested in the independent renewables sector in Wales in total, according to the sixth annual Energy Entrepreneurs Report produced by SmartestEnergy and launched today (Wednesday 2 May).

The 673 independent renewable projects – those outside of the traditional energy supply sector – now operating in Wales have a total capacity of 1.3 gigawatts (GW). Together they generate electricity worth around £120m and are able to power more than 730,000 homes.

The latest figures show that businesses in Wales have developed 62 new onsite generation projects, such as wind turbines to provide power for manufacturing sites and solar panels on warehouses.

Welsh farmers are behind 117 commercial-scale renewables projects and landowners account for 66 projects. The number of commercial-scale community-owned projects, which generate funds to be invested in local amenities, now stands at 16. Specialist developers are behind the majority of schemes in Wales, owning 285 projects at the end of 2017.

Wales saw the biggest increase in capacity of independent renewable anywhere in Great Britain. The new projects developed during the year – a rise of 9.6% – added just over 200MW of capacity. Onshore wind – which was overtaken by solar PV as the dominant technology in Wales in 2016 – jumped back into top spot after 15 new projects came on stream.

Across Great Britain, the report shows more than £227m was invested in 400 new independent renewable energy projects in 2017.

However, as renewable subsidies continue to fall away the pace of growth in the sector was the lowest seen since the report was launched in 2012.

With the Renewable Obligation Scheme closing to new projects last year and the Feed-in Tariff scheme due to close next March, the report highlights how energy entrepreneurs are now actively exploring new ways to make investments financially viable as they look ahead to a subsidy-free future.

Iain Robertson, vice president renewables at SmartestEnergy, says:

“The reduction in subsidies has inevitably slowed growth in the independent generation sector but these latest figures underline the significant role energy entrepreneurs continue to play as the UK shifts to a decentralised, decarbonised and digitised energy system.”

Source Credit: