Hopes for a more favourable climate for wind energy in Wales at last look set to be realised following the most positive statement on wind energy in years emerges from the Welsh Assembly, the governing body for Wales. It says that onshore wind will provide the lion's share of the country's renewables targets. The statement backing wind power comes as the Welsh government publishes new draft planning guidelines for renewables. The guidelines state that to meet the Welsh target of 4 TWh for renewables by 2010 -- 10% of electricity generation -- Wales needs at least 800 MW of onshore wind and 200 MW from offshore wind and other renewables. "Within the current UK energy market, onshore wind is the principal renewable technology with potential to help us meet the 2010 target," says environment and planning minister Carwyn Jones. His statement was jointly issued together with economy minister Andrew Davies. "All other technologies have been studied in great detail and cannot at this point in time compete commercially with onshore wind. Longer term, of course, we would like other clean energy technologies to also make significant contributions," the two ministers say. The welcome but long awaited draft planning guideline, known as Technical Advice Note 8 (TAN 8), restates Welsh government policy on renewables for planning authorities. Despite the good wind resource in Wales, difficulties with obtaining consents for wind developments have led to most developers boycotting the country to pursue projects in other parts of Britain. TAN 8 rules out wind development in most of Wales due to environmental and technical constraints such as national parks, areas of natural beauty and lack of grid capacity. But it sets out seven strategic areas capable of accommodating large wind farms where around 1200 MW of renewable energy could be developed. The British Wind Energy Association welcomes the news. "Wales has a fantastic onshore resource and the announcement will provide a powerful message to the industry that onshore wind will play a key role in the assembly's energy strategy," says the BWEA's Marcus Rand.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol