Welcoming the findings of a new report, Swansea Bay City Deal leaders say a number of major planned developments will soon combine to help Wales cut its carbon footprint.
Forming part of the Re-Energising Wales project being led by the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA), the new report has found that the Swansea Bay City Region is well-placed to act as a pathfinder for plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Wales by 80% in coming decades.
Praising the City Region’s ambition and leadership, the report also says Swansea Bay – which is made up of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot – has the potential to meet all its electricity consumption needs from renewable energy sources by 2035.
Subject to the approval of a business case, a Homes as Power Stations project is among those included in the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal, which is being funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector.
Set for introduction across the City Region, the project will see technology introduced that will allow homes and buildings to generate, store and release their own energy.
Also due to be part-funded by the City Deal, subject to the approval of a business case, is the Pembroke Dock Marine project, which will include a demonstration zone for innovative wave energy devices off the coast of Pembrokeshire.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Lead Leader for the Swansea Bay City Region, said: “We very much welcome the IWA’s report and the recognition it gives to the leadership and ambition across Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire to make Swansea Bay an example of best practice for renewable energy consumption.
“A focus on renewable energy will cut our carbon footprint, help local people save money on their fuel bills and generate thousands of new jobs as we look to develop and test green energy technology in coming years.
“Renewable energy is a key theme of the Swansea Bay City Deal, which is projected to boost the regional economy by £1.8 billion and create close to 10,000 new, high-quality jobs in the next 15 years.
“As well as the Homes as Power Stations and Pembroke Dock Martine projects, we’re also still hopeful of UK Government approval for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
“These projects would combine to further raise Swansea Bay’s profile across the world as an innovative, forward-thinking region, which could also lead to lucrative export opportunities overseas for local companies.
“We look forward to working with the IWA to explore now we can best put some of the report’s vision into practice.”
The IWA report also highlights the opportunity for Swansea Bay to become a leading region for the reduction of vehicle emissions, with a target of 80% of new cars and 30% of all cars to be electric by 2035.
Cllr Stewart said: “A number of regional councils, universities, health boards and other local employers have already taken the lead by introducing more electric vehicles in their fleets, but we want the public to follow suit in their thousands.
“That’s why discussions with electric vehicle manufacturers are ongoing, as well as a regional study that will see more electric vehicle charging points installed across Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. While encouraging the use of zero-carbon, sustainable transport, it’s also vitally important that the infrastructure is in place to support it.
“We stand ready in Swansea Bay to help inform a nationwide drive that will lead to a greener Wales than ever before.”