Last Wednesday, Pembrokeshire and the emerging Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) industry took centre-stage during at the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in Parliament. Chaired by Stephen Crabb MP, key industry leaders including representatives from the Crown Estate, ABP, the Port of Milford Haven, and Government-appointed FLOW champion Tim Pick gave evidence on the exciting Celtic Sea opportunity.
With an increased need for new domestic energy supplies, MPs on the committee questioned the witnesses on what needs to happen next to deliver this ambitious vision for a new green industrial opportunity for Wales. Discussion centred around the positive economic and community benefits of FLOW with challenges also debated, namely issues surrounding grid capacity and supply chains, and the role of port infrastructure. The importance of securing a freeport bid in Wales to enable acceleration of the vision was also discussed at length.
During the session, Henrik Pedersen, CEO of ABP (Port Talbot) described FLOW as “a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Wales in terms of jobs, inward investments and new technology that will be around for decades.”
Tom Sawyer, CEO of Port of Milford Haven, argued that “it is probably the most widely supported initiative on the political agenda at the moment”, while Dan McGrail, CEO at RenewableUK stated: “This is a very big opportunity for global growth and, as the UK, we have a leading position in this”.
Commenting on the cooperation between Port Talbot and Milford Haven to secure a Freeport, Mr Pedersen added: “Freeports will be one of the important levers to get FLOW into the south part of Wales that does not exist anywhere today.”
Gus Jasper, Managing Director of The Crown Estate stated: “It is important that we have all parts of the supply chain to be able to make decisions soon to help build what is needed to ultimately get a lot of turbines up, maintained, installed and connected.”
Following the session, Mr Crabb, Chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee commented:
“Undoubtedly, FLOW in the Celtic Sea represents a multibillion pound economic development and investment opportunity for Wales, and with enormous potential for us here in Pembrokeshire.”
“The twin challenges of net zero and energy security mean that the strategic need for this home-grown clean energy solution is becoming even stronger. I was pleased to welcome key leaders of the industry to the evidence session and hear their thoughts on what needs to happen going forward to make this vision a reality. It is clear that securing a Freeport in South-West Wales would serve to further accelerate this vision and I will continue to promote this opportunity.”
Next month, the Committee will conduct a further session with UK and Welsh Government Ministers to discuss this further.
You can watch the evidence session in full here: Parliamentlive.tv - Welsh Affairs Committee