Leading Swansea University researcher helps launch the Net Zero Wales Plan with Welsh Government

Welsh Government’s new Net Zero Wales Plan was launched today at an event held at the Solar Heat Energy Demonstrator building near Port Talbot, a research facility operated by SPECIFIC. Hosted by ITV Wales presenter, Ruth Dodsworth, the event was supported by the Welsh research community in a panel consisting of the First Minister of Wales, Rt. Hon Mark Drakeford MS; Minister for Climate Change Julie James MS; Professor Dave Worsley, Vice President (Innovation) at Swansea University; and Poppy Stowell-Evans Youth Climate Ambassador for Wales.

The launch event was an opportunity to explore the changes needed to achieve Wales’ environmental, economic and social aims, as well as the opportunities and risks the changes present. Professor Worsley, who grew up in Pembrokeshire, was keen to demonstrate how the universities in Wales are working on some of the toughest challenges facing the decarbonisation of industry and housing, two major pillars of the Welsh society. He highlighted how research outcomes from major multi-million pound projects such as SPECIFIC, FLEXIS and SWITCH Connect have helped to unlock immense potential in areas such as the Port Talbot Steel Works, and how the universities of Wales are adapting to fill the skills-gap that stands in the way of Wales fully capitalising on it’s green industries.

Professor David Worsley, Vice President (Innovation) at Swansea University

The event itself was held at a Welsh decarbonisation research facility, The Solar Heat Energy Demonstrator in Margam which is used to trial two large-scale solar heat storage demonstrators.

The SPECIFIC Solar Energy Heat Demonstrator research facility in Port Talbot, South Wales. It is a 1990’s industrial unit that has been retrofitted with solar technology, and as a result, has been running without gas since 2012.

Ministers introduced a five year plan of action, explained its role in shaping the next stage of our pathway to net zero by 2050 and emphasised the importance of working together to help deliver our decade of climate action. The role of science and research in developing the new innovations required to realise that pathway cannot be understated.

From the plan:

“The need for a coherent science and innovation system – to collect and analyse data, to investigate potential avenues for mitigation, to develop new techniques, products and services to deliver a net
zero Wales – is embedded throughout this strategy.”

“In our proactive approach to net zero, we will continue to support and value the high-quality research base available in Wales, for example through our support to Sêr Cymru.”

The next few years require a massive decarbonisation of electricity and heating [source; Carbon Budget 2]

From creating places for nature to giving the poorest people in Wales warmer, more energy efficient homes, as well as the things we want to take forward in this Government term and in this carbon budget, like a reformed sustainable farming scheme and creating a national forest. We recognise we haven’t got all of the answers – we want to work with and learn from people across Wales to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face and this is why, along with Net Zero Wales, we are also publishing another document today.

Climate Change Minister Julie James

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