Awel Aman Tawe is featured in this new short documentary on community renewable energy from Sustainable Wales:
Paul Allen, Coordinator of the Centre for Alternative Technology’s Zero Carbon Britain project, is encouraging people to invest in wind power.
“Awel Aman Tawe’s community energy share issue is just the sort of thing that people everywhere should be doing,” he told us. “Not only would this project help to build a Zero Carbon Wales, but it’s a fantastic way to generate income for yourself and to support community in need of regeneration.
“Renewable energy is clean and safe. The wind turbines have huge support, and will be owned by the community, which means that the community will feel the benefit of the income brought in from the sale of the electricity. I know the people behind the project, and that they have been dedicated to it for many years. Help them make a Zero Carbon future come true!”
To invest, just click the link on our home page and fill out the form.
Here are ten reasons I am investing in AWEL Coop:
- Awel Aman Tawe (AAT) have been working hard to build these wind turbines for over a decade – it is an honour to play a small part in the final step on a very long journey.
- Wind turbines will provide cheap renewable energy for generations to come. Long after the construction costs have been paid they will still be turning, producing electricity at almost no cost: no gas imported, no uranium mined, no nuclear waste to be looked after for thousands of years.
- The AAT turbines are community owned which means that the profit stays in the community creating jobs and opportunity.
- The turbines represent a beacon of hope that other communities can follow. Small communities without great wealth or special influence can improve their own future for generations to come.
- I will smile with satisfaction every time I drive past the turbines knowing that I played a small part in getting them built.
- I believe that one day the electricity generated buy the turbines will be delivered to the houses and businesses in the area – local, community owned energy that can benefit the whole community with cheap tariffs and a chance to save money.
- This month AAT’s Jenny has given birth to baby Gwen – what better gift for the future generations than renewable energy?
- I can smile whatever the weather! On a sunny summer’s day when the turbines are not turning, I am happy. When the storm is coming in and the wind is blowing, I am happy because the turbines are turning and earning.
- I want to show the Government at Westminster that Welsh communities can deliver cheap, renewable electricity – no foreign investment funds, no Chinese technology, no imports of fossil fuels – the Valleys can survive and thrive after coal.
- Oh, I nearly forgot…..a rate of return I can’t even imagine anywhere else!
“Poetry and love for the earth are a single passion for me,” writes Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales, the latest supporter of Awel Co-op, a community windpower scheme in south Wales, “my poems are love-poems to the earth.”
In her endorsement of Awel Co-op’s two turbine scheme on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, she says “this is the way power generation should go, village by village, community by community, water turbines, wind turbines, with all profits going back to the people.
This community-owned scheme, grounded in sustainable principles is one to support”, she urges, and as one of Wales’ Green Champions she is no stranger to sustainability.
Emily Hinshelwood who ran Awel Aman Tawe’s four-year Arts and Climate change programme is excited to hear that Gillian is backing the scheme. “Gillian judged one of our climate change poetry competitions. She is a poet of incredible craft, and expresses an empathy for the earth which reaches parts that statistics can’t reach.”
“Life and art are a single thing” Gillian said at AAT’s poetry prize-giving night, “what we create is to be shared, our decisions artistic and ethical.” Awel Co-op agrees with this view, harnessing the earth’s resources in a sustainable way, and feeding all the profits back into the local community. “By investing in our community windpower co-op” says Emily, “anyone can support this shared creation – this love-poem to the earth.”
The Share Offer is still open and individuals are able to pay by bank transfer up to midnight on November 26th. This will enable investors to claim existing tax relief before it is withdrawn by the government.
Ieuan Rhys Daniel (who painted these pictures) and I have been involved with Awel Aman Tawe for the past six years, inspired by the drive and enthusiasm of two of its founders, Emily Hinshelwood and Dan McCallum.
I first got involved with Emily through Pontardawe Script Café and community plays about climate change and community action:- ‘Nine meals from Anarchy,’ ‘Conscious Oil’ and ‘Fall Out 84’.
It is my belief that when you meet individuals who inspire you (it doesn’t happen very often!) through their commitment, beliefs and actions, they’re really worth supporting.
So when we held our art and poetry joint exhibition called ,’Sorry I don’t eat Fish,’ celebrating nature and raising awareness about climate change at the Roald Dahl Gallery in Cardiff Bay, we donated the proceeds of profits from sales of Rhys’ paintings to Awel Aman Tawe. The amount was just about enough to pay for one screw and bolt in one turbine! Last year we were pleased to invest a bit more in Egni – Awel’s sister community solar energy co-op. Not sure how many screws we contributed to on one solar panel, but to Em and Dan it’s not the amount of money you give, it’s the support it represents that’s important.
The couple and their colleagues at Awel Aman Tawe have spent the last two decades trying to get planning for a community wind farm – just two turbines that will generate electricity in the Aman/Swansea Valleys in West Wales – an area devastated by the decline of the coal industry. As they’ve jumped through and over all the hoops and hurdles and finally got planning permission, the Government has reneged on their commitment to offer tax relief to community groups investing in renewable energy.
So, Awel Aman Tawe have fast forwarded their plans in order to be able to attract investors who believe renewable energy is an important component of action against climate change, who want to get a good yield on their funds (7%) or who want to support a Welsh community that is struggling.
After the hopes and failures of the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen many people felt despair. We attended workshops based on the work of American eco-psychologist, Joanna Macy, an environmental activist.
They explored how we can empower ourselves as individuals and communities by understanding the inter-connectedness of all beings and our relationship to the land.
The forthcoming UN Summit on Climate Change looms ahead and if you feel like us that it is probably the most important issue for the future of our planet, buying a screw in a community wind farm may not change the world on its own, but one screw and one bolt at a time surely is a good start.”
Pictures by Ieuan Rhys Daniel
(top: “Gwylanwydd/Gannets”, bottom: “Pembrokeshire Landscape”)
Paul Thorburn, Wales’ former rugby captain has urged the people of Wales, and beyond, to get behind Awel’s community wind co-op. Paul says “This is a fantastic, co-operative way of taking action on climate change in the run up to the UN conference in Paris. Anyone can buy a share and therefore be a member of the co-op. One member, one vote. It’s an opportunity to share ownership of Welsh wind.
I have followed this project over the years and have written to support their planning application in the past. I know how determined these guys are. I am a big supporter of community energy projects. I look forward to seeing the turbines turning above the Swansea and Neath Valleys.
I harnessed wind energy to help some of my goal kicking attempts on the field, and to now see the benefits returned to the local community from this resource, is incredible.”
Dan McCallum from Awel commented “We are delighted to receive Paul’s backing. No one can forget that Monster kick as described by Bill McClaren in commentary. It is an iconic moment for Welsh rugby. Paul is absolutely committed to his local community. He’s been one of our longterm supporters and now that we need publicity for our co-op Share Offer, he has kindly agreed to put his name to it. We want Wales to take the lead on tackling climate change. By investing in our wind co-op, anyone in Wales, or indeed further afield, can be part of that effort. Please visit www.awel.coop to find our more and apply.”
The two turbines will generate clean energy, and feed all profits back into community projects.
This is an opportunity to own some Welsh wind power, take action on climate change and get a return on your investment. The project has been developed by Awel Aman Tawe, a local charity. Full planning permission is in place for two turbines, totalling 4.7 MW on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, about 20 miles north of Swansea.
£121k has already been invested from across the UK since the Share Offer was launched last week.
There is an seven day window remaining for this Offer. The Share Offer is open until November 23rd 2015. This will enable investors to claim existing tax relief before it is withdrawn by the government:
· Due to the timeframe, we are allocating Shares on a first come, first served basis
· Shares available from £50
· Projected 7% Rate of Return (11.5% with EIS tax relief)
· Support local jobs.
Assembly Member, Jenny Rathbone, has urged Welsh people to get behind Awel community co-op Share Offer. Jenny says “This is a fantastic, co-operative way of taking action on climate change in the run up to the UN conference in Paris.
“Awel Co-op is a significant £7.5 million project which is going to lever significant external funding into the Welsh economy. Construction is planned to start in March next year. Now, the Welsh people have the chance to own it, and ensure that all profits go into other renewable and fuel poverty projects via the charity, Awel Aman Tawe.
“I was also delighted to see that Bridgend contractors, Raymond Brown Construction, have won the contract to build the wind farm. Great news for Welsh jobs.”
The two turbines will generate clean energy, and feed all profits back into community projects. The 4.7MW site is on Mynydd y Gwrhyd about 20 miles north of Swansea.
Dan McCallum, who has led the project since it started in 1998 said, “Jenny has been a great supporter of community energy in Wales. We need our politicians to back Welsh-based community energy projects if we are to revive the great tradition of co-operative action in Wales. We also want to make sure Welsh money stays in Wales rather than going to the Chancellor – the only way to do that is to buy co-op shares before November 23rd before he takes away EIS tax relief from community energy projects. We’ve already received £49,000 of investment which is fantastic. But we want to get a minimum of £150k. Investors can claim a 50% tax break.
“We have a track record of delivering this kind of project. The same team put together the Egni solar scheme which raised £171k from a co-op share offer and installed 119kw of pv on 5 community buildings.
“We’d like to acknowledge the funders who’ve helped develop the community wind farm project with us – Welsh Government’s Ynni’r Fro programme and the Robert Owen Community Energy Fund which has been backed by Big Lottery.”
It’s not been easy, and it’s not been quick. In fact it has had the longest development period for a windfarm in the history of mankind. But however frustrating that has been, it was never about speed.
It’s always been about social justice, a, local response to global warming. It always had to be a community windfarm – ploughing money into villages winded by the closure of the coal industry.
Certainly the challenges have made me question not just the world’s sanity, but my own sense of what I want out of life. Surely in the face of worsening climate change, it shouldn’t take seventeen years to build two turbines!
Awel Aman Tawe has become an icon of dogged determination. That has been possible through the overwhelming support from thousands of people. People we’d never have met if it hadn’t been for the windfarm. Loyal, funny, innovative, supportive, risk-taking, empathic people. Even people willing to take off their clothes for our naked renewable
But in spite of all the ups and downs, the fundamental principles on which the project began hold true as much today as they did at the very start, when, having put the baby to bed, a few of us brainstormed our ideas for a community windfarm. That baby is now applying for uni.
It’s time to build a windfarm.
Please join us!