Welsh Affairs Committee Press Notice

Session 2005-06

1 March 2006

Press Notice No 23

Committee Visit to Denver and Chicago

The Welsh Affairs Committee will be undertaking a visit to Denver and Chicago in relation to its inquiry into Energy in Wales. The purpose of the visit is to focus on energy policies that are pertinent to Wales in the global context; and to hold meetings at some of the world's leading facilities and advanced research centres to discuss energy production that is directly relevant to Wales

The Welsh Assembly Government has taken the view that Wales should concentrate on renewable energy, and in particular wind energy. It has also taken the view that nuclear power should not be a part of Wales' future energy production. The outcome of any decision on future energy production will have a significant impact on Wales, both technologically and economically. Therefore it is imperative the Welsh Affairs Committee takes part in that debate.

Wales' nuclear power stations are at the end of their lives. Any decision to replace them will need to be made in the near future. We will discuss the feasibility of the next generation of nuclear power with one of the world leaders in nuclear reactor technology. We will also look at clean coal technology and assess its possible development in Wales. Clean coal technology and hydrocarbon exploration is a potential form of energy that is specifically suited to Wales and its coal reserves. This is particularly relevant in Illinois which has very similar problems to Wales in exploiting its coal reserves.

Wales has great opportunities for harnessing renewable energy and already has a wide variety of renewable energy projects. We will hold meetings with world leaders in photovoltaics, bio-energy and wind energy to understand how best they can be further developed in Wales. Wind energy is at the heart of the Welsh Assembly Government's energy policy. However, wind farms are highly controversial and we need to assess fully the balance between the environment and energy production of this form of energy. We will gain that knowledge during our visit.

Attached is an outline programme for that visit.

Sunday 5 March 2006 London - Denver

Evening    Informal meeting with the Consul General, Denver.   

Monday 6 March 2006:  Denver

0830    Informal meetings and presentations at the National Wind Technology Center

1100    Informal meetings and presentations at National Renewable Energy Laboratory on:

Geothermal Energy Programmes

Solar Energy Programmes

1400    Informal meetings and presentations at the Colorado School of Mines on Clean Coal Technology

1800 - 2000    Reception hosted by the Consul General, Denver

Tuesday 7 March 2006, Denver - Chicago

 0900    Meeting with elected representatives of Denver and Colorado on energy policy   

1200    Depart for Chicago   

1730    Informal meeting with the Consul General, Chicago.

1930    Reception hosted by the Consul General.

Wednesday 8 March 2006 Chicago

0900    Informal meetings and presentations with nuclear power companies.

1400    Informal meetings and presentations with the Coal Research Centre, Southern Illinois University, the Illinois Dept of Economic Development and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute

1600    Informal meetings and presentations at Illini Centre to discuss Biomass Technology

Thursday 9 March 2006 Chicago - London

0730    Breakfast meeting with elected representatives for Chicago

0900 -  Informal meeting with Welsh Development Agency (WDA)

1130    Informal meetings and presentations at  Argonne National Laboratory to discuss current and future energy technology, nuclear power, and waste management.

1545    Depart Argonne National Laboratory   

1900    Depart Chicago