Addressing Labour’s Annual Conference in Brighton, Jenny Rathbone, the Assembly Member for Cardiff Central said:
A few months ago I was part of a delegation to Germany to look at their very successful energy policy.
We met two women from a village in Baden Wurtenburg who have built a highly successful business for the benefit of their community.
After the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986, they went to their energy supplier saying they no longer wanted to heat their homes from nuclear power and please could they be supplied from other energy sources.
“Can’t be done” said the energy company, “We’re not able to do that”
Bad business move not to listen to their consumers, bad business move.
These two women went back to their community and decided to do it themselves. They now have 150,000 customers for their array of solar, hydro, wind and bio mass and rising.
I want those opportunities for people across Wales and the rest of the UK.
Those opportunities don’t exist at the moment.
Yes some people have stuck a solar panel on their roofs, - using the FIT in Tariff as longer as you get in there before this Thursday –
But we don’t have the right to sell any surplus to our neighbours. We are obliged to sell whatever we don’t need to the private monopoly company which runs the National Grid. They’ll then sell it back to us at a much higher price. That’s if they choose to take it.
But a £100,000 community energy enterprise in Wales was told it would cost them £5 million to connect them to the Grid.
Despite the huge advances in technology, Energy generation remains the preserve of the big boys.
The only thing we can choose is which of the big six is going to send us our heating bills.
That has to change. The technology exists to allow communities and local authorities to become energy generators and suppliers.
But this UK Government doesn’t want that. They want to get rid of all this “green wash” and force us to continue to buy our over-priced energy from the cosy cartel they are happy to nurture.
The profligate George Osborne now wants to lock us into a multi-billion pound nuclear power station at Hinckley Point which our children and grandchildren will have to pay for, regardless of the spiralling cost. That and fracking is their energy choice.
We in Wales already produce more electricity than we use. We want the right to generate clean energy in ways that will benefit the Welsh economy and the rest of the UK, that is clean, sustainable and mindful of our climate change obligations to future generations.