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South Wales community energy charity pulls up wind farm opposition campaign on ‘untrue’ claims against Port Talbot wind farm

South Wales based community-owned renewable energy charity Awel Aman Tawe has spoken out about recent claims made by a local anti-wind campaign group near Port Talbot.

The “Stop Y Bryn Wind Farm” campaign group, which was set up in opposition to proposals for a new wind farm near Port Talbot and Maesteg, South Wales, has recently issued leaflets containing information about the project to the local area. 

Awel Aman Tawe believes that the distributed information has the potential to seriously mislead local communities and their representatives on the issue of renewables and wind energy generation.

Prif Swyddog (Chief Officer) Dan McCallum said “I was dismayed to learn, during the first week of COP26 and as thousands of people were taking part in climate coalition marches across Wales, that a leaflet containing incorrect information and unsubstantiated claims has been distributed in the areas around Port Talbot and Maesteg.”

“We are on the brink of a climate emergency, and it is disheartening to see such misinformation being circulated, when we need to pull together to find ways of reducing our carbon footprint if we are to avoid the devastating effects of global warming. There is a lot of ‘fake news’ about wind turbines on the internet which is completely wrong, and people have, perhaps unknowingly, put those claims into this leaflet. We also do a lot of work in schools and it’s very important that information presented publicly about renewable energy is accurate.

“I would urge the campaign to carefully review the unsubstantiated claims made in the leaflet and properly assess the claims being made in any future materials. There is a weight of accepted scientific evidence that contradicts these claims and we hope that people carefully consider the points being made in this leaflet before accepting them as true.

“Recent polls[1] have shown that majority of people in the UK recognise the need for and benefit of onshore wind and we’d urge decision makers to recognise the importance of including these projects in the energy mix as we strive for net zero. Over 1,000 young people have been to visit our wind turbines on Mynydd y Gwrhyd over the past 4 years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“Awel Aman Tawe fully supports the proposals for Y Bryn wind farm, which would deliver significant amounts of green energy, as well as one of the largest community benefit contributions per megawatt seen in the UK to date. The prospect of having up to 20% of a project of this scale in community and public sector ownership is also extremely exciting, and represents an opportunity to deliver real local benefit to communities in South Wales.  

“We would encourage all those with an interest in the proposals to engage in the current planning process and to participate in the consultation being undertaken prior to submission of an application.”

About Awel Aman Tawe

Awel Aman Tawe (AAT) is a community energy charity working to make a difference to the lives of people throughout south Wales. It developed and operates two community owned wind turbines in Pontardawe on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, and has recently completed the installation of 4.6MWp of solar pv on 88 schools, businesses and community buildings throughout south Wales through Egni Co-op.

AAT is embedded in the community, its small staff and active volunteer group live in the area, and it is committed to protecting the outstanding natural environment of the neighbourhood. It works to raise awareness of the importance of clean energy in the fight against climate change through a sustained programme of information, communication and work in schools and, more recently, through an innovative range of arts activities related to climate change that often reach people at a deeper level.

The quality of its work has been recognised nationally and internationally, including a 2019 National Social Enterprise award for ‘Environmental Organisation of the Year’ and a 2016 ‘Community Renewable Energy’ prize.

Further information can be found on the following AAT websites and

Case study documents on the Awel Co-op wind farm can be seen here (Gov Wales) Awel Co-op Case Study and on Egni Co-op here

Claims made

A leaflet distributed by the ‘Stop Y Bryn Wind Farm’ group has made a wide range of claims, including:

Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8: Renewable Energy (TAN8 has since been revoked and replaced by Future Wales, but does indicate that the area including Y Bryn has long been considered suitable for wind energy)

TAN8 SSA Refinement Study

Onshore Wind Turbine SG 6.6-170 I Siemens Gamesa

N163/6.X – Nordex SE (

V162-6.2 MW™ (

Wind farm noise statutory nuisance complaint methodology (

House of Lords – Economic Affairs – Written Evidence (

In our experience of living close to the Awel turbines, noise is not a problem

  • there is not enough wind, other times the grid can’t cope with production. If it’s too windy and increasing noise issues, or too sunny and increasing flicker issues, they are often turned off” – wind turbines generally work in between 3m/s and 25m/s wind speeds experienced at hub height, on average producing power ~75-85% of the time, at an average ~30-40% load factor. If they are ever required to be turned off (temporarily) – but as this represents a loss to the operators they would tend to design projects to avoid the need for such shutdowns. Our own Awel turbines have been generating renewable power in excess of predictions since 2017.
  • hadow flicker is modelled and assessed as part of any wind turbine application. Our own community’s experience of living close to our wind turbines, is that shadow flicker is not an issue although it was raised as a concern pre-construction
  • This is not correct. Turbines are predominantly steel and other metals which are recyclable. Turbine blades have not historically been recycled but new advances and regulations mean that blades from Y Bryn would almost certainly be recycled come the end of its operating life, e.g.

Can wind turbines be recycled? (

Siemens Gamesa pioneers wind circularity: launch of world’s first recyclable wind turbine blade for commercial use offshore

Wind industry calls for Europe-wide ban on landfilling turbine blades | WindEurope

  • this is untrue. There are a significant number of schemes, both around the UK and the world, that are using or proposing the latest turbine technology, e.g.

Renewable Energy Planning Database: quarterly extract – GOV.UK (

Swedish Twin Peaks 242 MW project to deploy Siemens Gamesa 5.X platform

Siemens Gamesa takes UK onshore wind to new heights with deal to install its market-leading SG 5.8-155 turbines in Scotland

Björkvattnet, Metsälamminkangas, Merkkikallio, Puutikankangas, Rustari, Gaildorf


Pontarddulais Year 5: future engineers!

The visit from Pontarddulais students to our community wind farm yesterday was blessed by sunshine and wind. The 60 Year 5 students were really interested in learning about Cooperatives and about wind power. We AAT staff were very impressed with the level of knowledge students already had about climate change and electricity generation as well as their insatiable thirst for knowledge! We answered 1,999 questions from ‘why is it painted grey?’ to ‘how many magnets in a generator?’…! The visit included a trip inside the wind turbine to look at the measurements of wind speed, tip speed and running hours to date. The turbine has been running some 18,000 hours to date, about 4 times the design life of a car already. We’re looking forward to meeting some of these future engineers again!

Support Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on the 15th of February!

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is taking place on the 15th February. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of a problem that affects 1 in 3 households in Wales.  As such National Energy Action will be working with MPs, local authorities and other organisations to raise awareness of support available for those in fuel poverty.

How can you support?

  • You can support this cause by using the hashtags #FuelPovertyAwarenessDay and #WarmSafeHomes on social media.
  • Read NEA’s Warm and Safe Homes Action guide available here and disseminate to anybody in your area who may find it useful.
  • Add a Twibbon to your social media to show your support. You can do this here.
  • NEA have produced several videos on a range of topics with guidance to help. These can be found below.

o   How do I know if I’m in fuel poverty
o   Paying for energy
o   Maximising income
o   How to make my home warmer
o   How to switch supplier
o   How to stay safe at home

Fuel Poverty affects so many people within our communities and so we’d really appreciate your help in raising awareness of the support available.

#FuelPovertyAwarenessDay #WarmSafeHomes

Awel’s wind turbines featured on unique new album by Fiddlebox

Fiddlebox’s new album, ‘Tears of a Robot’ merges Klezmer turbines with machinery, wind and water soundscapes. This is their fourth album and is a collaboration with electronic musician Nick Swannell.  It is an album of fiddle-led, synth-heavy, evocative tunes featuring field recordings of wind turbines, waterwheels, and nineteenth century industrial machinery.

Our turbines, the music and an interview with Fiddlebox and Awel Co-op member, Helen Adam can be seen on these videos;

Short promo:

Long promo:

The album is now available to buy from as a hard copy. Or as a download (either whole album or single tracks) on CD Baby It’s also available on itunes, Amazon, spotify and googleplay

Deliberately cinematic in style, and with dystopian film classics in mind, this album gives the listener space to create their own images inspired by wide soundscapes.  The music evokes the sounds of industries gone by, and the music is filled with steampunk as well as ‘music concrete’ sensibility. The dramatic and atmospheric sound of our 100-metre tall wind turbines is fused with the emotive and lyrical melodies of Klezmer  (Eastern European Jewish) music, Sephardic songs from Renaissance Spain and new writing. The violin melody leads us on an emotional journey throughout the album, as the mood moves through lyrical sweetness, industrial grunge, and the sounds of windswept space.

Helen says  “my obsession with the cranky, intricate and funky sounds of mid 19th century industrial machinery has led to field recordings of wool carders and a spinning mule becoming the rhythmic driver behind these tunes”. Waterwheels and the machinery they drove have the beat and pulse of living beasts. They are contrasted here with the synthetic smoothness of both analogue and digital synthesisers; historical instruments from the 70s synth revolution, as well as their digitised contemporaries.

Dan McCallum, Awel Co-op Director, said “All of Fiddlebox’s albums are stunning and it’s a real honour that they’d made something so beautiful from the sounds of our wind turbines.”

 The Musicians

Helen Adam: professional fiddle player, composer and arranger, and half of duo Fiddlebox.

George Whitfield: full time accordionist, keyboard player and accordion fixer, and other half of Fiddlebox

Nick Swannell: sound engineer, musician and filmmaker.

The Inspirations

Helen:  Stockhausen, Boulez, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, 1900’s lo fi recordings of solo Klezmer musicians

George: Jean Michel Jarre, Pink Floyd, and Hawkwind

Nick: Gary Numan, Ultravox, Depeche Mode

The tunes.

Most of the melodies we use are Klezmer tunes -Eastern European Jewish music often associated with weddings, worship and rites of passage. ‘Half Moon in the Devonian Forest’ is an original composition, and the melody in ‘Sea of Serenity’ is from the Sephardic Jewish tradition whose roots were in mediaeval Spain and Portugal.

The recordings

Awel Co-op wind turbines on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, West Wales recorded by Awel Co-op member, Alastair Duncan, Founder and Director of Stillwalks

Waterwheel, Spinning mule and wool carder all recorded on location at Cambria Woollen Mills, Drefach Felindre, Ceredigion.


Helen Adam, George Whitfield and Nick Swannell are available for media interviews prior arrangement.

To request an interview please contact:


Please follow the link to download photography, video and audio material:


We’re recruiting a Development Officer!

We’re looking for a bright enthusiastic person FT or jobshare, to join our small team and help make Neath Port Talbot the place to be for community energy.

Awel Aman Tawe is a registered charity which is developing a programme of work to support low carbon regeneration. This post is funded through the Rural Development Programme in Neath Port Talbot. A full job description is  here AATDevelopmentOfficerJD

AAT works on a number of projects including energy efficiency, renewable energy, regeneration, sustainable transport, community arts and educational programmes. It has developed two co-operatives and provides management/administrative support to both:

  • which owns a two-turbine 4.7MW wind scheme on the Gwrhyd above Pontardawe
  • which owns 179kw of solar pv on 7 community buildings in S. Wales

Job Purpose

  • to work with a range of communities and community groups in identifying, developing and implementing renewable energy or energy efficiency projects, including coordination, project management, and reporting. This will include the further development of Awel and Egni Co-ops.
  • The role will involve the development and delivery of renewables projects from the point of identification, through landowner signature and the planning process with the ultimate aim to deliver consented, economically viable and buildable projects to a point ready for construction.
  • To carry out initial feasibility studies and provide advice for sustainable energy proposals, having regard to technical, regulatory, financial, group development and community engagement issues.
  • To seek funding for energy projects and manage specialist consultants who would help to take the project forward to planning and implementation.

A relevant background might be energy consultancy, engineering, energy efficiency, renewable or energy supply industry, project management – particularly in the community sector, planning, energy management.

Hours of work:           37.5 hours per week, mainly standard office hours.  Occasional evening or weekend work will be required.

Contract:                    The  person(s) will be employed on a 2 year contract by Awel Aman Tawe, with the possibility of extension subject to funding. We welcome applicants who would consider working part time, and we would look to create job share opportunities with other applicants where appropriate.

Place of work:            This post will be based in AAT’s Cwmllynfell Office. AAT has a home working policy which allows for home based working as appropriate.

Salary:                         £27,000 – £34,000 (will depend on qualifications and experience)

Closing Date:              27th July 2018              Interviews: Friday 10th August 2018


It’s been windy! Awel Co-op pays full interest to its members after 1st year. Share Offer still open…

Awel Coop is delighted to report that it has been able to repay its co-op members their interest payments from the date of their investment in the award-winning project.

We have paid 5% and 7% payments (depending on when they joined) to our 800 members as projected in our Community Share Offer. This is a massive achievement in our first year of production. It helped us win the Neath Port Talbot Business Awards for Sustainability. It proves that people can get a better return than the banks by investing in green community business.

As well as many individuals who invested in us, our co-op members include a range of community organisations in the local area such as Tiddlywinks Nursery, 16 schools, Friends of Pontardawe Arts Centre, our two local Welsh language newspapers, Llais and Glo Man, and many others. All this helps keep money in the local economy and engage people in climate change action.

We’ve now raised nearly £2.8m from our Share Offer and we hope to reach our target of £3m by 30th June.  This will enable us to pay of our remaining Welsh Government loan so the project is funded solely by co-op members and Triodos Bank. The minimum investment is £50 and the projected interest rate is 5%. Do join us here

You can see our 2017 Accounts here for Awel Coop and for Awel y Gwrhyd CIC which is the trading subsidiary wholly owned by Awel Co-op which operates the wind farm.

Community energy has the unique potential to bring together communities together in the struggle to combat climate change, and also to keep funding from their energy resources, within those communities.

We, and other community groups, engage people in creative ways – after our AGM this week at the start of  the national Community Energy fortnight, over 100 people came to see ‘Flood’ a new piece of theatre. This play was developed by local writers and imagined a scenario where Swansea was flooded, and the refugees come to Pontardawe Arts Centre, turned into an Evacuation Point for the evening. Soup was provided by the wonderful Café Make.


Audience enjoying ‘Flood’ at Pontardawe Arts Centre

Site visit to Awel Co-op’s wind farm and climate change writing course-book now!

Please see the below invite to take part in a site visit to our wind farm on Friday 16th March and to learn more about the sector in Wales.

The event is one of a series across Wales and has been organised specifically for officers within local authorities in Wales (particularly those with expertise in economic development, planning, community development and environmental issues), along with civil society groups and the third sector, as a means of furthering understanding and knowledge of the community energy sector, and how it will be possible to cooperate in future to ensure local ownership of resources and renewable energy developments.

It would be great to have your presence and input. Contact Sioned Haf ( for further information. You can reserve your place by following this link:

Also, spaces are filling up so do book soon for:
“Writing about Climate Change” – a weekend residential writing course at Ty Newydd, Criccieth, North Wales. Awel Aman Tawe co-founder Emily Hinshelwood will be running a course this spring with writer David Thorpe on how to write about Climate Change.
Fri 23 Mar – Sun 25 Mar 2018
Course Fee / From £220 – £295 per person

On this course we will experiment with a variety of different approaches to writing about climate change. We will investigate ways of tapping our emotional reactions, of using research, imagining possible scenarios, and generating meaningful stories. How do we expose and write about that often hidden connection between our profligate use of fossil fuels and the loss of habitat, life and lifestyle that many in the world are already experiencing? Whether you are a poet, a fiction writer or prefer factual writing we will discuss the many facets of climate change and the ways in which its impact is felt both by participants on this course and people throughout the world.

Community Energy New Year Honour

Dan McCallum, co-founder of Awel Aman Tawe, has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List with an MBE for services to community energy in Wales.

This is great recognition for our own community wind farm and for the work our staff, volunteers and Trustees have put in over the past 18 years. Our project has become part of a movement in Wales to secure more community ownership of renewable energy which now involves many people and organisations. It has been tough to develop our project, but inspiring to now see many projects being developed by communities throughout Wales.

Pic by Mike Harrison, Awel Co-op member

Community energy has the unique potential to bring together communities together in the struggle to combat climate change, and also to keep funding from their energy resources, within those communities.

Awel Co-op commissioned its 4.7MW wind farm in January 2017. The project has generated more than 10GW of electricity, enough to supply about 2500 homes per year.  It has raised over £2.5m from a community share offer, the highest ever in Wales, and is looking to raise £3m so the project is owned by as many people and organisations in Wales as possible. The wind farm has a capital value of £8.25m and is co-funded by a £5.25m loan from Triodos.

 The community energy story is ongoing in Wales and people can still join it. Our own share offer is still open on, and other exciting projects which have open share offers or are about to launch new offers include ,  Carmarthenshire Energy, and  The work spans all technologies including wind, hydro and exciting local supply innovation Ynni Ogwen. There has also been award winning collaboration between local authorities such Swansea Council and Swansea Community Energy . Moving forward, there is an exciting new joint venture on the Alwens forest in N.Wales between Innogy and Community Energy Wales which will see a 15% community stake in the proposed new wind farm there.

 Welsh Government also deserves recognition as it has backed all the above projects through the Ynni Lleol programme of funding and advice. It has also given policy support with the new target for local energy of 1GW by 2030 and all renewables to have an element of local ownership by 2020. This has helped draw in additional resources into the community energy sector such as Robert Owen Community Banking, Triodos Bank and the Development Bank of Wales.