Carwyn rips up Labour's manifesto

Towards the end of First Minister's questions on Tuesday there was this exchange between Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood, which I want to thank Naturiaethwr for drawing to my attention:

     

Leanne Wood: What discussions has the First Minister had recently with the UK Government on the natural resources of Wales?

First Minister: I attended the joint ministerial committee last month, where I repeated my call for the people of Wales to control renewable energy projects up to 100 MW.

Leanne Wood: Thank you for clarifying that, First Minister. Can you confirm that you only asked for energy projects up to 100 MW and that you did not ask for anything more? If you can confirm that, can you explain to us why your ambition for Wales is so limited?

First Minister: Because it's in renewable energy that we have the greatest potential in projects up to 100 MW. I suspect that that question is based on nuclear ...

Leanne Wood: No, not at all. It is nothing to do ...

First Minister: We fully support Wylfa B as a development for the people of Anglesey. I do not know whether your party does or not. We certainly want to ensure that, when it comes to renewable energy, the people of Wales have proper control over their resources.

Poor Carwyn was wrong on two counts. First, he claimed that the greatest renewable energy potential was in projects up to 100 MW. It isn't ... not by a very long way.

In terms of offshore wind, the size of the large projects in Rounds 2 and 3 completely dwarfs all the other windfarms in Wales put together. Gwynt y Môr, currently under construction, is 576 MW. The Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel is 1,500 MW with about a third of this in Welsh waters. The Irish Sea Zone windfarms will probably have an installed capacity of 3,715 MW in Welsh waters, as I described in this post. At present, the total installed capacity of onshore windfarms, every one of which is below 100 MW, is about 377 MW. Even if we add the Round 1 offshore windfarms of North Hoyle at 60 MW and Rhyl Flats at 90 MW, there is still nine times more potential in larger schemes than in smaller ones of 100 MW or less.

In terms of energy from tidal lagoons—our other big potential source of renewable energy—the WS Atkins study for Tidal Electric identified six sites on the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel. The three larger ones totalled 3,300 MW, and the three that were 100 MW or less totalled 208 MW.

     

So there is fifteen times more potential in larger schemes than smaller ones of 100 MW or less. Carwyn really didn't have the first clue what he was talking about. He's looking at the small things, but completely missing the big picture.

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But his second mistake was worse. For some reason he got in into his head that Leanne was asking him specifically about nuclear power. She wasn't, but that didn't stop him displaying his ignorance about Plaid Cymru's policy on nuclear energy in Wales.

Perhaps we can forgive him that, for there are one or two mavericks in Plaid who have tried hard to confuse people by misrepresenting what our policy is. But there really is no excuse for him not knowing what his own stated policy on nuclear energy is. Labour's manifesto for the Assembly election in May last year says:

The Assembly Government's Low Carbon Energy Statement sets out how we intend to maximise energy savings and energy efficiency, making the majority of the energy production we need in Wales from low carbon sources.

Welsh Labour Manifesto, 2011

And in that document it says:

Our approach to nuclear power in Wales is ... we remain of the view that the high level of interest in exploiting the huge potential for renewable energy reduces the need for other, more hazardous, forms of low carbon energy and obviates the need for new nuclear power stations.

Low Carbon Energy Statement, March 2010

Every one of Labour's AMs was elected on the basis of a manifesto pledge that Wales had no need for nuclear power. So what was Carwyn playing at by claiming that "we fully support Wylfa B as a development for the people of Anglesey"?

Is he just showing us how ignorant he is of his own party's manifesto? Has his government's policy position changed ... and was this done with the consent or even knowledge of his fellow Labour AMs? Or has the Labour party now got itself a maverick leader who's decided that what he thinks party policy should be on this issue is more important than the manifesto he and his fellow AMs were actually elected on?

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11 comments:

Siônnyn said...

When he said 'we fully support. . . ' what he means is 'Peter Hain fully supports . . . '!

He makes himself, and his party, such an easy target, that I can't wait for Leanne to be fully unleashed on them!

Ceiliog said...

Firstly, you claim that the Labour Party Wales manifesto of 2011 and the Wales Assembly document "A Low Carbon Revolution - The Welsh Assembly Government Energy Policy Statement" 2010 are in one publication. Untrue.
Secondly, you fail to quote the following from the Energy Policy Statement: "The decision as to whether a new nuclear power station is built on the existing Wylfa site is a matter for the UK government and the IPC planning process. Should a decision be made to proceed with building a new nuclear power station on the Wylfa site, the Welsh Assembly Government will engage with all stakeholders to ensure the maximum local and regional benefit from the building and operating of the new station, including the provision of skills, and supply chain opportunities."

MH said...

I asked a few Welsh Labour MPs who was the leader of the party in Wales, Siônnyn. To a man, they said it was Carwyn and seemed offended that I could question it. But this is one of the things that shows him to be little more than a ventriloquist's dummy.

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Very funny, Ceiliog. Anyone who is capable of reading can see I didn't say that.

And there are many other things I "failed" to quote ... for the simple reason that they weren't relevant. The piece you quoted in fact mirrors Plaid's policy almost exactly: to be firmly against nuclear energy, but to try and get a few of the crumbs that fall from the table if Westminster forces it onto us.

Ceiliog said...

You quote from the Welsh Labour Manifesto of 2011 [Block with blue ink on pale yellow]
You write below it: "And in that document it says":
Quote from Low Carbon Energy Statement of March 2010 [Block with blue ink on pale yellow]
Two different documents which you seem to think are one.

Also, you need to take into account the fact that there has been a change at Westminster.
The Tory/LibDem Government are not exactly pro-low carbon energy.

Anonymous said...

Ceiliog:

I fail to understand what your substantive point is.

The documents quoted imply that Labour and the Welsh Government do not favour new nuclear development in Wales. They cannot be read otherwise.

Therefore MH's point is valid.

Although a supporter of Leanne's bid for the leadership, and I voted only for her, I feel that her researchers should have prepared her more adequately for the cut and thrust in the Chamber (not that there is much of that in the Assembly - Carwyn sounds as lethargic as ever).

MH has done some spadework. If he can do it, full-time researchers for our AMs can too.

Effective politicians have to have the 'gift of the gab' as they say, and need to be able to think on their feet. But the real work is done beforehand, like a child's homework. This is something Plaid has to address, and not just regarding it's AMs.

It has to raise its game all round.

I'm not criticising Leanne per se, but commenting on what I see and hear going on in the Assembly. The debates are generally of a pretty poor standard. (It often applies in the Commons too).

Shambo said...

It's almost as if IWJ was still in government, innit?

Ceiliog said...

Anonymous:
My second post was a response to a comment from MH, who asserted that he didn't write what he clearly did write.

Anonymous said...

Tend to agree with Anon 03:17. Although Plaid has been standing out when it comes to the economy lately, particularly with Build for Wales and the need for capital investment. It is a good sign that as an Assembly geek I am now fed up of them banging the drum for Build for Wales and Ieuan's transport policies. On other areas the party remains patchy. It concerns me that the potential leaders are singling out the economy for needing further work when actually it is Plaid's absence of a policy for allowing the Welsh NHS to survive going forward, that is most troubling to me as a keen Assembly watcher.

Anonymous said...

Old joke; Plaid nuclear policy is clear. "No nuclear power stations to built on Welsh mainland."

naturiaethwr said...

Check out page 21 of the new energy statement http://wales.gov.uk/docs/desh/publications/120314energywalesen.pdf
despite the “undoubted risks” associated with nuclear power, “the Welsh Government supports the development of a new nuclear power station on Anglesey”

MH said...

Thanks, Naturiaethwr. That's one hell of a U-turn, but it explains why he said what he did last week.

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