Ministers are being urged to ensure new offshore wind farms are built in Wales

Floating offshore wind could be Wales’ 21st century version of the steel, coal and shale industries if a “hard line” is taken with the Crown Estate, ministers have heard.

Labor and Tory MPs have called on the government to ensure past mistakes with offshore wind projects are not repeated and to guarantee new turbines off the coast of Wales are built by UK-based companies.

The Crown Estate, a company owned by the monarch but managed by the government, owns the seabed around the UK and is currently considering bids to build floating offshore wind turbines in the waters off the south-west coast of Wales.

Wales was the cradle of the first industrial revolution, now let’s make it the cradle of the green industrial revolution

Stephen Kinnock MP

Labor MP for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock told the House of Commons that floating offshore wind, known as Flow, is a “real game-changer for the South Wales economy and the labor market” and represents a “once in a generation opportunity to transform Aberavon and south Wales and turn us into a green superpower.”

He told MPs: “For much of the 19th and 20th centuries Welsh coal, slate, copper and steel were known around the world. In the 21st century, Wales could be just as well known for Flow if it took the chance.

“The prize is clear – the creation of a new long-term industry where high-value manufacturing has ‘made Wales’ firmly etched into the pewter.

“Wales was the cradle of the first industrial revolution, now let’s make it the cradle of the green industrial revolution.”

Former Tory Welsh Secretary Stephen Crump said earlier: “What we can do with this new industry is not repeat the mistakes of the past.

“If we get it right we can create new domestic opportunities, we can create genuine supply chains here in the UK and in Wales and really see this new industry centered around ports like Port Talbot, Milford Haven.

“This is the prize before us that is worth winning. Big industrial economic opportunities don’t come along that often in Wales. We have one now and we have to seize it.”

Intervening, Mr Kinnock said: “Right at this point to ensure that we get the benefits in Wales, he agrees with me that a very hard line needs to be taken with the Crown Estate to ensure that when the lease is made for the seabed contains very clear requirements for the developer to ensure that manufacturing, supply chain, jobs, skills, stay in Wales, so that we don’t make the huge mistakes, horrible mistakes, that have been made in the past when have we allowed everything from these supply chains to go overseas?’

Mr Crabb, who chairs the Welsh affairs committee, replied: “The way I would put it is that we need to achieve alignment between the Crown Estate’s lease tenders and the UK Government’s Treasury contracts for the dispute process and the commitments that developers have construction.

“He’s absolutely right, we have to hold our feet to the fire, whether it’s the developers or the Crown Estate.

“But when companies make promises to create X number of jobs in his constituency or my constituency, we want to see them delivered. This is the opportunity before us.”

Closing the debate, Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said of floating offshore wind: “The Government is hugely supportive of this and we look forward to bringing four gigawatts by 2035 to the Celtic Sea.

“I’ve engaged with the companies involved, I’ve engaged with the Crown Estate about it, about how quickly we can move it forward.

“There will be an announcement soon about the Flowmis (Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme), I’m told it will be very soon, but I’m not in a position to give a date for that.”

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