We must break our reliance on the fossil fuels that are causing dangerous climate change, and instead develop clean and renewable sources of power. In Wales, we have massive resources of wind and marine energy. Just as our coal once led the industrial revolution, we could lead the renewable energy and green technology revolution - and reap the economic benefits.
Burning fossil fuels (such as coal, gas and oil) in power stations is responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in Wales - the single biggest source of these climate-changing gases. New gas and coal-fired power stations in Wales should only go ahead if they are highly efficient, with Combined Heat and Power (CHP) that uses both the electricity and the heat generated. There must be no new opencast coal mines like Ffos-y-Fran in Merthyr Tydfil, which emit dust and pollution, cause noise problems and scar the landscape.
Energy efficiency in our homes and businesses is the most cost-effective way of achieving cuts in emissions. Pursuing energy efficiency can also help create and protect thousands of jobs in Wales, reduce fuel poverty, and improve health. Energy efficiency measures have helped Wales reduce our use of electricity by 10%, and our use of gas by 23%, over the last five years.
The Welsh Assembly Government's energy policy has stated Wales' potential for renewable energy to produce up to double the electricity than we use by 2025. The UK has the greatest wind power potential of any European country. Wind energy is one of the cleanest, safest and most cost-effective forms of energy available. It is the most technologically advanced renewable energy, and can deliver much-needed cuts in CO2 emissions now. Wales also has ideal conditions for tidal and wave power. Pilot tidal current schemes in the seas off Pembrokeshire and Anglesey could give Wales a technological lead, bringing jobs and energy security whilst reducing carbon emissions. Biomass - the generation of heat and electricity from the burning of biological material such as forestry residues and organic wastes - can be a useful source of low carbon energy. But it's essential the material burnt comes from sustainable, local sources, and it results in real emission reductions compared to fossil fuels. We oppose biomass power stations because burning wood is not a sustainable way to generate electricity compared with genuinely renewable alternatives.
Friends of the Earth Cymru believes the environmental, economic and safety drawbacks involved in nuclear power make the building of new stations unjustifiable. New nuclear build would also divert scarce resources and political attention away from the solutions, such as energy efficiency and renewables, that could be developed sooner and cheaper. We are disappointed at the Welsh Government's policy U-turn in supporting a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey, and will continue to campaign against any new nuclear power installation in Wales.