What about a level playing field?

NOW that RWE has decided not to proceed with the Atlantic Array offshore wind farm, no doubt the vociferous opponents of renewable energy who write to this paper will be screaming, “Victory!, VICTORY!”

But for whom is this a victory?

Certainly not the numerous people in west Wales who might have enjoyed good wages and job security, working on this project; nor the three counties’ young people, many of whom might have seen their careers launched by involvement with the scheme. And, having lost the opportunity to home-generate a huge amount of electricity, we will all be much more dependent on imported fossil fuels – at an unknown cost, in the future, and inflicting undeniable damage to the Welsh balance of payments.

On the subject of economics, we should surely be asking why RWE seemed to give up so readily, on the basis that seabed conditions were more difficult than they expected.

After all, many engineering projects encounter similar problems, and yet we persevere with them and are glad that we did: if the Great Western Railway had taken such a timid attitude the Severn Tunnel, which has so benefited Wales over the years, would certainly never have been built!

The key question which our politicians must answer is this: had RWE been offered such generous guarantees over future generating revenues as were given to the new Hinckley Point nuclear power station in Somerset, would the Atlantic Array still be firmly on course to generate us great quantities of green electricity, and strengthen Britain’s reputation as the world leader in offshore wind power?


Independent energy consultant




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