Anglesey Energy Island Gets Miliband Support

by Steve Jones
(North Wales)

The Anglesey Energy Island idea is given a big boost as Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change,

pledges Government support for the initiative.

This idea to harness energy from the island's coastline and favourable location was originally proposed and has been actively championed by Albert Owen as local MP, and is now also supported by the county council

On a visit to the island Mr Miliband said it was only a Labour government has a proper plan to bring a significant number of green jobs to Anglesey.

He addes that the other political parties would, as a result of their policies, either risk putting the whole Wylfa B project off or cause serious delay.

Among the energy generating sources envisaged in the Anglesey Energy Island concept are nuclear, tidal, wind and biomass, all of which are supported by Mr Miliband.

Let's also remember that the Government will be providing a new £2 billion Green Investment Bank which will offer funds for the very projects that can be taken forward on the island.

Mr Miliband emphasized that "Labour has backed the vision for the Energy Island, and Albert Owen and Labour have a plan for the local economy.

He added that while the UK Government cannot guarantee the new green jobs can come to Anglesey, but they would be working closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to make the island the preferred destination.

On the issue of planning Mr Miliband said in respect of Wylfa B that " we've brought in the Infrastructure Planning Commission to help speed up the whole process, while at the same time making sure local people have their say."

As well as a visit to Wylfa Nuclear Power Station, the Energy Secretary also accompanied Albert Owen to Anglesey Aluminium, Holyhead, where smelting operations closed last September.

There is now a possibility that the site could be used to manufacture wind turbine units and Mr Miliband said the Government has already been in discussion with companies interested in coming to this advantageous location.

Significantly, Mr Miliband said that the Holyhead location could attract financial support from a £60 million fund designated for Offshore Wind ports around UK waters to help with infrastructure, and so this could give Anglesey the edge over other competitor locations.

As well as a wind turbine factory on the former smelter site, there is the chance of a 300 MW biomass plant, for which Anglesey Aluminium Metal (AAM) has submitted a planning application.

It is clear however that the outcome of the iminent general election could have a significant impact on whether the Anglesey Energy Island concept makes progress or just dissolves away as another idea.

While Labour is 100% behind nuclear as part of a broad mix of energy sources, Plaid Cymru like the SNP in Scotland are against nuclear as a source of low carbon energy.

Equally the Liberal Democrats have said they are against nuclear power and if they were to have a say in government in the next Parliament, would almsot certainly at best cause a delay in pressing ahead with nuclear new build.

The Conservative candidate on Anglesey, Anthony Ridge-Newman, said that his party has "an integrated plan for the island economy." This is one, says Mr Ridge Newman, that would encourage entrepreneurship and attract investment.

During his visit to Wylfa Nuclear Power Station, Ed Miliband and Albert Owen also spoke with staff at the plant and met with a group of children from Moelfre primary school who were attending a science lesson on the site.

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