Cymru, Lloegr a'r Llwchwr

Cymru, Lloegr, a'r Llwchwr...

Helo! Croeso i’m blog newydd sy'n cymryd lle Yma byddaf yn rhoi'r byd yn ei le o safbwynt y De Orllewin. Bydd rhai sylwadau yn fwy cyffredinol na’i gilydd ond canolbwyntio ar wleidyddiaeth cig a gwaed sydd yn effeithio yn uniongyrchol ar bobl o’m cwmpas i yw'r bwriad. Gwyntyllu fy marn personol y byddaf i fan hyn wrth gwrs!

Hi! Welcome to my new blog which has replaced I'll be setting the world to right from the perspective of the South West. Some comments may be more general than others but my aim is to talk about everyday issues that directly affect people around me. Needless to say, the views expressed here will be purely mine.

Monday, 6 September 2010

A’r gwynt i’r drws pob bore: thinking about sustainability

Two years ago at Plaid’s National Conference I introduced a motion calling for a town centres strategy to promote local business, local procurement and food production. Much of the argument, which became part of our Westminster manifesto was based on a document entitled Ghost Town Britain on

Last week some friends reminded me that I haven’t said anything about climate change for some time. I spent yesterday evening reading through the Energy Descent Action Plan produced by Totnes Transition Town group. It’s available on: and makes some very important points about the need to a resilient (largely self-sufficient) local economy. The authors point out that money arriving in the area leaves it without creating any benefit locally – in paying energy bills, shopping in supermarkets and online and advocate localisation … Sounds familiar?

But it is frustrating to see how few and far between sustainable practices are. Food co-operatives in Wales such as in Cardigan have great potential as does the allotment movement and the community-owned wind turbines at Gigha and at Findhorn in Scotland. But I wonder if the focus on localism isn’t self-defeating when it clouds the need for national action.

Without a doubt Wales can produce more electricity than we need from renewable sources. So why aren’t we? And why aren’t we making sure this potential stays in Wales?

The first phase of the Gwynt y Mor off-shore wind farm off the North coast will produce just under 10% of our national electricity need. This is projected to rise to producing around half our national need in phase 3. While I do have concerns about the scale, it is mostly hidden from view, which is more than can be said for most dry-land developments.

The Syniadau blog has discussed the 30% equity stake the Munich Municipal Utility holds in Gwynt y Mor. See:

Munich has long invested in alternative technologies, we haven’t.

Such investment in energy production by our County Councils is not currently possible, but it is a very interesting model to consider. It also raises important issues around the financing and ownership of sustainable energy production.

Faced with a crisis of the magnitude of global warming, we must find ways of allowing communities - large and small - to borrow so that they can be really resilient in terms of food and energy production. Much of the sea bed also remains in the hands of the Crown Estate. Both those discussions need to happen on a National Welsh level and in case of the Crown Estate, in the UK Parliament too.

The Offshore Valuation Group suggests setting up a super-grid for electricity in Europe through which we could sell energy to areas which do not have our advantages in terms of wind and sea. For a copy go to:

Not only can sustainable technology help us meet – and pass - our 40% CO2 reduction target, but here is an incredibly valuable resource that we can use to keep Welsh people in work and raise our standard of living.

Plaid has long called for a Green Investment Bank to develop long-term jobs and expertise. I’m sceptical about what we’ll see in the UK Energy Bill but I do hope to see discussions about alternative financial models to promote sustainability in the next few months.

Diwedd y gan yw'r geiniog? As always it does come down to money, but this could be the start of something very big

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