By Cai Davies
On Thursday 4th November I watched as Climate Cymru hosted the first of its regional roadshows. These are online broadcasts of a series of talks from different areas of Wales. The first one came from the Menai Science Park for North Wales with the theme of Clean Energy. Obviously a very exciting and important theme!
An introductory short film described how wind from North Wales already powers 420,000 families a year, and the big ambition of North Wales becoming a net exporter of low-carbon electricity. This set the stage for an introduction to various projects that would deliver this ambition.
The talks were by a good range of experts, community members and researchers. As a few examples, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board discussed aiming to raise investments of 1 billion for their growth program to be spread across multiple projects such as clean buses. Jeremy Smith, a power expert, talked about Carbon Capture and Storage and how the national grid has proposed repurposing gas pipes for hydrogen. I thought the idea of reusing existing infrastructure very impressive in its simplicity and therefore accessibility.
The enterprise company Mentor Mon gave a talk about tidal power off North Wales, how it can be very reliable, and that North Wales has rare areas of tidal activity to take advantage of. That concept was expanded upon by a talk about how wind power and tidal power must be aware of other users of the seabed such as marine animals and shipping from the Crown Estate, which also indicated it was preparing to grant more licenses for offshore wind power. I was struck by the statement that tidal power can act as a baseline power, I hadn’t considered that it would be so reliable, but as the expert pointed out, you can predict tides and therefore you can predict the power you get from them.
A panel of scientists gave talks on subjects such as decarbonising the water supply, the use of nuclear reactors’ heat for industrial purposes and making battery storage more sustainable using different materials. They painted a picture of a different, greener future. Often, I struggle with the idea of ‘unknown’ technology being used to reduce emissions, so it was nice to hear these scientists explain in detail how their technology works.
Finally, there was a panel of community members, that gave inspiring examples of communities using green technology, such as placing solar panels on community buildings. I really think the Government should pay attention to these examples of community action and support them, I think as we try to move to a greener world, the role of local communities is critical.
The roadshow was very professional with clear audio, translation from Welsh to English, embedded videos, and question and answer sessions as the talks happened which kept it very engaging. The first of four such roadshows, it was a demonstration of Wales’s ability to become green. The talk is available to watch in the official webpage.
Overall, the Roadshow gave me a bit more confidence, it was lovely to hear about projects going on in Wales because then it feels more relevant. Global Warming is such a big problem that it can be hard to see the individual details, and now these projects are positive examples I can think about, it’s also inspiring to consider what I could get involved in!