Ynni Cymru is a new entity created by the Welsh Government as part of the Co-operation-Agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru. The goal of Ynni Cymru, according to Minister for Climate Change Julie James, is “to harvest our wind and use it to produce power that directly benefits people in Wales”, establishing a clear reasoning for the project’s existence.
One of two state-owned vehicles dedicated to renewable energy development in Wales, Ynni Cymru will be focused on small-scale community-led projects. These smaller schemes include solar panels and small-scale hydro power, aiming to provide 5-33% community ownership. The other state-owned vehicle will focus on working with private sector companies to build primarily larger wind energy projects, with Solar PV projects also being considered. WG say they will invest no capital into these projects, but they will be built on WG owned land and WG will provide support through means such as providing road access.
The Welsh Government aims to launch Ynni Cymru in April 2024, with an Interim Board in place for around two years until Ynni Cymru’s permanent structure is functioning. This will be purely a guidance role, with no direct investments or grants being committed towards Ynni Cymru, as they have been reserved for the other state-owned vehicle. Ynni Cymru will instead focus on facilitating the relationship between projects spearheaded by the state energy developer, with the intention to support local people to invest or take ownership of projects. Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change, stated that Ynni Cymru may take over the Welsh Energy Service to both generate energy and improve energy efficiency.
The allocation of resources into public and community-owned projects is key to the desired success of Ynni Cymru, as Community Energy Wales’s Business Development Manager Robert Proctor points out since it is “often the hardest stage to get finance”. As such, the commercial sector plays an important role in the Ynni Cymru plans as well, as the Welsh Government will allow private developers to use WG resources as a part of joint venture work. A reason for this Rhys Wyn Jones, director at Copenhagen Offshore Partners, argues is that “the commercial sector does certain things better than the public sector can.” So, if successful, WG can use the expertise of private developers and reap the energy benefits that will come from new energy ventures.
Welsh Government’s venture with Ynni Cymru could simultaneously support and grow small community schemes. However, it is still in its infancy and likely has a long way to go until we begin to see a step change in local energy delivery.
The Welsh Government officially announced the launch of Ynni Cymru in August 2023. The new publicly-owned renewable energy company will be based at M-SParc, Ynys Mon. Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change, and Siân Gwenllian MS, Plaid Cymru's Designated Member, have said Ynni Cymru will be at the forefront of developing and delivering smarter local energy projects. Eleven projects have received a share of £750,000 in resource grants over the next three years.
For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.
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