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Wales' green business investment bid launch

Business people in Wales are joining forces with ministers to try to sell Wales as a great place for green businesses to invest.

Wales' green business investment bid launch

David Williams of Cardiff-based Eco2 says Wales is now catching up


BBC News Wales

By Sarah Dickins, BBC Wales economics correspondent


A prospectus called Green Growth Wales has been launched in the City of London.


It says Wales has a wealth of natural resources and customised support for the green sector.


The Welsh government said it was committed to an environment where business could invest with confidence.


The environment in Wales has been valued at £8.8bn, with assets including extensive coastline, seven major ports and potential for marine, hydro and solar, onshore and offshore wind power.


Peter Matthews, chair of Natural Resources Wales (NRW), said green growth was the key to Wales' future prosperity and argued it provides investors with a "one stop shop" for advice and solutions.


"Our aspiration is for Wales to become a location of choice for enterprise and business, where best environmental practice is the norm.


"We want to help developers manage project risks and ensure that we have the right developments in the right place."


David Williams is chief executive of Eco2, a Cardiff company that has developed 70 renewable energy projects across the UK in the last 12 years, mostly outside Wales.


'Greater good'
He said Wales was behind parts of England and Scotland in making the most of its natural resources like wind and sea - but was improving.


Five years ago getting planning permission for renewable energy projects took around seven months in England and Scotland and two years in Wales, he said, and while in England and Scotland 50% of projects were approved, only 20% succeeded in Wales.

"The politicians have understood that they are difficult decisions and that all the big decisions are never popular and they're actually prepared to accept the unpopular decisions for the greater good," he said.


"NRW has been given, within the sustainability agenda they have been given, a remit to have economic growth at its heart as well and we are looking forward to seeing that coming out in action actually."


Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies said they were committed to creating an environment where businesses could invest with confidence and to developing the conditions to nurture and drive green growth.


"Wales is already a great place to do business but I want it to be a world leader in green growth," he said. "I believe that by using our natural resources sustainably we can create a new economic model that will deliver wealth creation and economic growth, both now and in the future."


Why Wales?
Wales continues to be a "country of choice" for multimillion-pound energy developments, including the £12bn Wylfa Newydd nuclear development and the £6bn Rhiannon offshore wind farm.

41,000 people employed in the green economy in a variety of industries including energy, waste and water.

A 1,200 km coastline and around 32,000 square km of sea offering significant opportunity for "blue" energy growth, with expertise in marine energy and aquaculture.

Seven major ports including Milford Haven, where the majority of the UK's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is imported. Milford Haven.

Water companies wholly or mainly in Wales are currently forecast to invest in excess of £2bn in the period to 2020

Source: Green Growth Wales Investing in the Future