A new grant scheme will provide greater support for hydropower developers in Wales than is available in the rest of the UK thanks to a budget deal by Plaid Cymru.

A grant scheme for hydropower projects with a rateable value of up to £50,000 will be established under the two-year budget deal between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

The scheme will provide a 100% relief to community projects to ensure they are able to retain the maximum possible benefit for the local area. In addition there will be a cap on the increase in rates for other small-scale developments to 10% or £1,000, where there was no previous liability.

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs said:

“Plaid Cymru’s rate relief scheme in the Welsh budget for small hydro projects will be welcome by the sector I’m sure. These community schemes had been faced with an increase of up to 900% in their rates.

“This announcement follows a long campaign for Plaid Cymru to secure fairness for the hydro projects that had been disproportionately affected by non-domestic rates revaluation.

“If we’re building a green nation then community hydro projects will be a fundamental part of that. The money generated by community hydro schemes can be re-invested into the local community, and will bring benefits for generations to come.”

Plaid Cymru Arfon AM, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Welsh Language, Local Government and Equality Sian Gwenllian said:

“The proposed cap on the increase in rates for small-scale schemes to 10% or £1,000, where there was no previous liability is a new development and will be welcome particularly in the agricultural industry.

“The planned increase in business rates would have been devastating for projects in my constituency such as Ynni Ogwen and Ynni Anafon.

“Plaid Cymru believes that renewable energy projects should be community owned and should benefit local communities. I’m glad that we’ve managed to persuade the “Labour Government in Wales to support these projects from the planned increase in their business rates.”

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