A REPORT on the potential of renewable energy generation in Wales has been accused of overlooking the hydropower sector and the potential of tidal energy. 

The Welsh Affairs Committee released its report on renewable energy in Wales last week. 

In it the committee of MPs state action must be taken if Wales is to harness its natural resources for energy production and build on current efforts. 

The report does acknowledge a “wide mix of hydro-related companies” and “a tidal range capable of providing significant generation opportunities along the Welsh coastline”. 

But figures from the hydropower sector claim the MPs ignored tidal power, and energy already produced by harnessing the power of running water, in their report. 

Simon Hamlyn, chief executive of the British Hydropower Association, said: “This is an important report on green technology in Wales which has been whitewashed at the very time the world is focused on climate change and how to solve the climate emergency. 

“It is a staggering omission that not once does the Welsh Affairs Committee report mention the word hydropower despite a lengthy written submission and oral evidence to MPs. Not once do they mention tidal range.” 

According to the body there are around 300 hydropower stations in Wales, producing over 20 MW of electricity per year, excluding pumped storage hydro. 

READ MORE:

Henry Dixon, chair of the British Hydropower Association’s Tidal Range Alliance, said: “It’s extremely disappointing that the Welsh Affairs Committee has totally ignored a key renewable technology that could contribute so much to future generations. 

“In our submission to the committee, we not only outlined how tidal range schemes could feed into Wales’ low carbon future but the wide ranging and essential benefits they would bring to coastal communities who are facing real challenges from rising sea levels.” 

In the report MPs also refer to the potential for tidal technology that has been explored off Anglesey and Pembrokeshire. 

The hydropower industry figures said the report had “ignored” what they described as the detailed evidence on hydropower they had presented to MPs. 

Among the issues the sector had also raised is what they consider to be “avoidable” business rates increases charged on the hydro power schemes and highlight that the Commons Environmental Audit Committee had urged the UK Government to consider the benefits of tidal range in the UK’s energy mix. 

Mr Dixon, of the Tidal Range Alliance, said the Welsh Government had launched a Tidal Lagoon Challenge, recognising the technology’s potential. 

British Hydropower Association Mr Hamlyn said: “I have yet to be given a clear reason why hydropower has been excluded. Whatever the reason, it is a total mystery, and it shows a callous disregard for two valuable technologies in the renewable sector in Wales.” 

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.