“Help Awel Aman Tawe make a Zero Carbon future come true!” says C.A.T.’s Paul Allen

Paul Allen wind power

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.

Chris Blake’s “Ten Reasons why I’ve invested in Awel Co-op”

Here Chris Blakeare ten reasons I am investing in AWEL Coop:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The AAT turbines are community owned which means that the profit stays in the community creating jobs and opportunity.
  4. 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.
  5. I will smile with satisfaction every time I drive past the turbines knowing that I played a small part in getting them built.
  6. 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.
  7. This month AAT’s Jenny has given birth to baby Gwen – what better gift for the future generations than renewable energy?
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Oh, I nearly forgot…..a rate of return I can’t even imagine anywhere else!

 

National Poet of Wales buys into our community windpower co-op!

Gillian Clarke National Poet of Wales buys into Awel Wind Co-op
Gillian Clarke National Poet of Wales buys into Awel Wind Co-op

“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.

Paul Thorburn, Wales rugby legend, gives Monster boost to kick off wind co-op Share Offer

Paul Thorburn rugby playerPaul 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.”

Further Details:

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.

Share Offer breaks £2 million barrier

We are delighted to announce that our Share Offer has gone above £2 million which is the highest ever in Wales to our knowledge. Over 800 individuals have invested, but we received a particular boost with the support of the Friends Provident Foundation who invested £100,000. This is the maximum single investment allowed under a co-op Share Offer and represents a strong endorsement of our work.

Colin Baines, Investment Engagement Manager at Friends Provident Foundation said “We are pleased to be making our first direct investment in community energy by joining the Awel wind co-op. We view the transformative potential of community energy to be huge, not just in terms of low carbon transition but also regarding local economic and community resilience. We are particularly impressed with how the community took this project from inception to planning to generation themselves; no small feat that should maximise the project’s community value. Awel also has the right location, technology and expertise, plus a fair return on investment, which together with its social and environmental benefits, means it is a perfect investment for a foundation like ours that seeks to use its assets to progress its charitable objectives.”

Dan McCallum from Awel Co-op said “We are delighted to welcome Friends Provident Foundation as a member of our co-op.” Friends Provident funds a range of great projects across the UK and has a strong Vision “We want to help build a just and sustainable world where everybody can live meaningful lives, with respect and care for ourselves, each other and the planet. We believe that the purpose of money and the economy is to enable and serve human flourishing and a healthy environment, and that currently they do not. We work through grants, investments and our own activities, seeking to create a fairer economy that serves us all.”

Dan added “Six other charities have also chosen to invest in our community wind farm including the Environmental Justice Foundation and Vision 21 – we think it’s really important that charities follow strong ethical guidelines and invest in community energy. We would encourage other charities to do the same – it also will help engage them directly in onshore wind energy as one of the cheapest ways to generate energy to combat climate change, and projected to be the cheapest by 2025. This is according to the UK Government – we have to ask then, why is the government supporting fracking and nuclear which are far more expensive for the consumer and damage the planet?”

Horsepower! (picture by Awel member, Mike Harrison)

Directors of Awel have now decided to extend the Share Offer in order to refinance a £1.2m Welsh Government loan. This is a 15 year loan @7.5% interest so it will be better for the co-op members to refinance this through Shares. We will be keeping the interest rate for Shares @5% as per the existing offer.

We hope other charities will join us.

Awel and NEF call for additional Government support for Show Homes as inspiration for domestic retrofit

In its most recent study, the National Energy Foundation demonstrates the benefits of Show Homes in promoting energy savings through retrofit and renovation, and calls on the Government to provide additional support.

Following the publication of the Bonfield Review (Each Home Counts) at the end of last year (which avoided the issue of stimulating extra demand for domestic energy efficiency retrofit) the National Energy Foundation launches a new study on the effectiveness of Show Homes. The new report Show Homes: An effective force for inspiring domestic retrofit looks at how Show Homes can be used very effectively to raise public awareness of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and how they can generate interest among visitors who might then go on to install similar measures in their own homes.

Show Homes are shown to raise awareness of what is possible and take visitors from inspiration to action. The benefits provided by Show Homes are almost endless and are felt throughout the supply chain – by Government, the consumer and the population as a whole.

In particular, the study identifies the award-winning SuperHomes project as a beacon of inspiration for homeowners. SuperHomes are a nationwide network of over 200 owner-occupied properties that have been renovated by their owners (SuperHomers) to save at least 60% of their carbon emissions. Celebrating their 10th year in 2017, SuperHomes have the advantage of showcasing a combination of energy efficiency measures.

Each year, SuperHomers open their homes to the public in a series of Open House events and, over the years, tens of thousands of visitors have walked through the doors of these homes, with a large number going on to undertake their own energy-efficient renovations. Three in five visitors say it is very likely they will improve the energy efficiency of their homes following a visit to a SuperHome.

SuperHomes have caught the attention of BBC Radio 4 and will be featured on the Costing the Earth programme, scheduled for late April. The programme will focus on improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock. Two SuperHomers will be interviewed about the measures they’ve installed to achieve their 60% reduction target, and how they have changed the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes.

Launching the report, Gabby Mallett, Director of Households and Communities at the National Energy Foundation, commented:

“If this Government is serious about cutting carbon emissions and renovating our aged housing stock, as well as reducing fuel poverty, it needs to address the issue, so clearly avoided by the Bonfield review,  and stimulate some demand. What better way to do that than by supporting initiatives such as Show Homes, which have been shown to work?”

50,000kWh? It was actually 72,000 kWh!

Enough to supply 22 houses for a year with electricity.

In fact, our turbines are beating all projections from January to March. We knew it was a good site (i.e windy!) and that Enercon are state of the art turbines. So far, they’ve generated 2,190,555kWh. See a pic of our meter.

This works out as a daily average of £2,706 of generation as compared to the most optimistic (P50) projection in our Financial Model which was £2,493.

This is despite the fact that the turbines were under test for much of this period so there were days when one or both weren’t working as Enercon staff were tweaking them inside.

We’re going to be looking into how best to put more of our data into the public domain over the next couple of months. We think it’s vital that we present the business case for onshore wind energy, and how much cheaper it is than fracking and nuclear (+ a whole load of other arguments…)

Awel Co-op on BBC Wales Today

First time we’ve ever been a headline on the BBC news! But great that community energy in Wales is getting this recognition. Lots of potential for expansion in Wales across all technologies and all areas. The impact of climate change demands that we do more in order to leave a better world for our children.

This piece was filmed a week or so ago and great excitement that the turbines spinning today. Join  Facebook page (Awelamantawe) to see some footage from a Brynaman kitchen window!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b084jd5f/bbc-wales-today-lunchtime-news-16122016

 

Voting open for Third Sector Awards Cymru 2016 – we’re up there!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for the Award of Most Admired Organisation at the Third Sector Awards Cymru 2016.

The Third Sector Awards Cymru honour the hard work and inspirational achievements of the third sector in Wales, and the prestigious Most Admired award is for organisations most respected for their work and the causes they represent.

bladelift

The winner for this category is this year being decided by public vote, so please support us by voting online now!

Dan McCallum, one of Awel Co-op’s directors said, “We are delighted with this recognition. Our turbines will be commissioned and generating electricity this Friday December 16th – it’s taken us 18 years to get to this point so we are over the moon! Our Share Offer is still open so why not buy a Share as a Christmas present for someone? – you can invest from £50 and we expect to pay a 5% annual return. Our Share Offer has already raised almost £1.6m, the largest ever in Wales. For more information, visit www.awel.coop.

You can find out more about the awards and how to vote at http://www.wcva.org.uk/what-we-do/celebrating-the-sector/third-sector-awards-cymru. Please share this link and if you’re on Twitter use the hashtag #TSACymru to help us get more votes!

Voting closes 13 January 2017, and the winner will be announced at the Third Sector Awards Cymru ceremony in February.

Awel Co-op crowned best in Wales for contribution to community

Awel Co-op has been crowned the winner of the Wales Award as part of the Rural Community Ownership Awards 2016, the only national awards programme recognising community co-operation around the UK.

Awel members, Kani and Emily Hinshelwood collecting the Plunkett Award
Awel members, Kani and Emily Hinshelwood collecting the Plunkett Award

Awel Co-op is building two community wind turbines 15 miles north of Swansea, supplying enough clean energy to power about 2500 homes. All profits from the project will go into further community energy projects. The co-op has undertaken a Share Offer and has already raised £1.56m and is hoping to reach £2m before Christmas.

The Community Ownership Awards are run by Plunkett Foundation, the national charity supporting people to set up and run community co-operatives – businesses that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people from within their local area – to help overcome issues ranging from isolation and loneliness to poverty.

Dan McCallum, one of Awel’s Directors said “We are very honoured to win the Plunkett Award. It will be fantastic to see our turbines generating electricity which we expect to be before Christmas. Our Share Offer is still open so why not buy a Share as a Christmas present for someone? – you can invest from £50 and we expect to pay a 5% annual return. For more information, visit www.awel.coop.

Awel Co-op competed with shortlisted entries and was crowned the best community owned co-operative in Wales. The winners were announced at a national ceremony in London to an invited audience of over 100 special guests from around the UK.

James Alcock, Head of Frontline at Plunkett Foundation said: The winners of the Rural Community Ownership Awards all represent fantastic examples of community enterprise. The award nominations clearly demonstrated community co-operatives at the top of their game; all the winners fought off seriously tough competition and truly deserve this accolade. We wish them all every success for the future.”

Community co-operatives come in many forms: shops, pubs, bakeries, farms, community hubs, woodlands, broadband projects – the list is endless! They are a business, but trade primarily for the benefit of the local community. Like any business, a community co-operative must be profitable. Due to their focus on the local community, and investing profits back into the business or local area, they are able to succeed where other commercial ventures may fail. For example, around 400 commercial village shops close each year and in the region of 21 pub closures a week, community-owned shops and co-operative pubs not only represent a better form of business, they directly respond to some of the key challenges facing rural communities today such as lack of services and isolation.

Notes to Editors:

About the Community Ownership Awards 2016:

The Community Ownership Awards are about celebrating the most inspiring examples of people in rural areas working together to improve their communities. They are designed to help communities celebrate their own success and learn from each other, and to raise awareness about the co-operative model and community ownership to a wider audience. For more information visit the Awards website at: www.communityownershipawards.com

About Plunkett Foundation:

Plunkett Foundation (www.plunkett.co.uk) helps communities to take control of their challenges and overcome them together. We support people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community. They help people to tackle a range of issues, from isolation and loneliness to poverty, and come in many forms including shops, cafes, pubs and land-based initiatives, and everything in between.

About community co-operatives:

Community co-operatives can come in many forms: shops, pubs, bakeries, farms, community hubs, farmers’ markets, woodlands, broadband projects – the list is endless. They are businesses, but they trade primarily for the benefit of their community. They are controlled by the community, and they have open and voluntary membership, actively encouraging people to get involved by becoming members. They do this by offering shares in the co-operative, the cost of which are set at a level that the majority of people will be able to afford. Click here for more information – https://www.plunkett.co.uk/what-are-community-co-operatives.