Headlines: July 29th, 2005

A warning will be given today that without a balanced and diverse energy supply Wales could be at the mercy of international events, climate change and increased demand and face power cuts and the loss of jobs.A major energy conference organised by the Wales TUC is expected to hear that failure to act now could spell disaster for workers, communities and businesses in Wales as United Kingdom gas and oil stocks diminish.

Industry experts from across the UK will speak at the event, ‘Could the Lights Go Out in Wales?’ which will outline what Felicity Williams, the Wales TUC General Secretary, called “the tough and pressing choices that Wales and UK policy makers need to take”.

The Conference will look at how sustainable energy sources can be secured and green house gas emissions reduced. It will also debate ways to insulate communities and businesses from the effects of having to rely on some of the world’s most unstable countries for future energy supplies. Delegates will also discuss the better use of renewable energy, the possible role of cleaner coal and whether they can afford to do away with the nuclear option.

The Conference is expected to call for policy makers in Wales and across the UK to plan now and to ensure that at the core of any policy is a balanced and diverse energy supply that – at this stage – must not discount nuclear energy being part of any solution.

Felicity Williams said tough and critical choices needed to be made with global energy demand likely to double over the next fifty years and Britain’s Kyoto climate change responsibilities requiring a big reduction in green house gas emissions. She said there was increasing doubt about whether renewable energy sources, such as wind farms, could meet future energy needs. Nuclear plants, which provide 20 per cent of current energy with virtually no green house gas emissions, are in the process of being decommissioned. “Decisions on just how we fill this massive deficit will need to be made quickly and this conference will be a major contributor to that debate,” she said.