The Welsh counties of Gwynedd and Mid Glamorgan are the regions in England and Wales which have delivered the most progress in solar and onshore wind power installation over the past year, according to a new league table published by think tank Green Alliance.
The ranking puts Gwynedd as the top county for solar progress, followed Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk.
Meanwhile, Mid Glamorgan took the top spot for onshore wind progress, just ahead of Lancashire, Cambridgeshire, and Lincolnshire.
“We have a long tradition of energy production in Gwynedd, and we are pleased that there has been a rise in terms of the production of solar energy within the county,” said Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd council cabinet member with responsibility for economy and community matters, in a statement. “This is of environmental, social and economic benefit to the county as a whole.
“The Council’s carbon management plan has already reduced the carbon emissions of Council properties by 35,000 tonnes and delivered £3.1m cumulative revenue savings over recent years. This, along with other renewable developments within the county, are obviously helping to deliver real improvements in Gwynedd’s production of renewable energy.”
As well as being among the top three counties for the amount of wind and solar capacity installed this year, Cambridgeshire nabs the top spot overall for solar power, with a total of 235MW installed.
Amy Mount, head of the Greener UK unit at Green Alliance, said progress in tackling climate change is not just about world leaders signing international agreements. “It’s as much about the actions of communities and businesses here in the UK, who are gradually transforming our power system into one that’s pollution-free and fit for the twenty-first century,” she said in a statement.
Welsh environment secretary Lesley Griffiths said she was pleased Wales is “leading the way” when it comes to progress on wind and solar power, and pointed to the Welsh government’s commitment to supporting the development of more renewable energy projects. “These technologies provide affordable low carbon energy, which can help secure a smarter energy future for Wales,” she said in a statement.
Statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in August showed the amount of electricity generated from renewables in the UK as a whole in the first three months of 2016 reached a new record of 23.2 TWh, up from 21.8 TWh in the same period the previous year, largely thanks to a rise in the number of large-scale solar PV projects.