Category Archives: Uncategorised

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.

Clean energy windfall for Amman Valley school and community groups

Awel Co-op wind farm in the Amman Valley will be gifting over £30,000 worth of shares to local community groups this Christmas.

One of the first beneficiaries is Tairgwaith Primary School  which received £500 worth of shares and a certificate of ownership during a recent visit by Year 5 and 6 pupils.

The school visit features in a short film, available to view here:

The wind farm, located about 20 miles north of Swansea, was commissioned in January having secured £5.25m from Triodos, Europe’s leading sustainable bank; one of the largest investments ever seen in the Amman Valley.

As well as providing enough clean energy to power 2,500 homes each year, the two 2.35MWh wind turbines generate revenue which is then reinvested in the local community.

In addition to Tairgwaith’s donation, the community co-op which owns the wind farm has gifted £500 worth of shares each to Tiddlywinks Nursery in Ystalyfera, Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers and Canolfan Maerdy, a local regeneration charity. A further £30,000 worth of shares has been earmarked for local community groups.

Tiddlywinks visiting their turbines

Founding director Dan McCallum, who was recently presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Renew Wales in recognition of his pioneering work tackling climate change, explains: “Awel Co-op wind farm is a community energy project and we want our turbines to be owned by as many local people and groups as possible. We were delighted to be in a position to donate shares to Tairgwaith Primary School who will enjoy a projected 5% return per year for 20 years on their £500 investment.

The wind farm is already a fantastic educational resource, teaching the next generation about the importance of sustainability, but we wanted to go one step further. Now Tairgwaith pupils will be able to visit the site whenever they want to and say, ‘we own those windmills!’.

 Of course, none of this would be possible without the financial backing of Triodos Bank, who have been with us every step of the way and continue to support us as we reach another milestone, the end of our first full year of operation.

 Our share offer is still open to the public until we reach our target of £3 million. To date, we’ve raised £2.5 million. Visit if you’d like to join us!

Steve Moore, Relationship Manager at Triodos Bank UK, said: “At Triodos Bank, we invest in people and projects that are bringing about positive environmental and social change.

 Awel Co-op epitomises sustainability – providing enough clean energy to supply thousands of homes as well as generating revenue for schools and community groups – and we are extremely proud to be a part of this very special story.

Triodos Bank, having launched a new personal current account this year, was so inspired by the work of Awel Co-op, they took one of their customers, Kathryn Chandler, who lives in Swansea, to meet Dan and Tairgwaith pupils and see the turbines first hand.

Kathryn was delighted to discover that the money she invests is helping to generate clean energy for local homes. She explained: “I bank with Triodos because they are an ethical bank and I wanted to choose a bank that I believe in and that’s investing money in projects I believe in.

Triodos are transparent about where they put their money and who they lend to and it’s important to me that I’m saving with a bank that’s considering the benefits for other people, as well as myself.

Other local projects financed by Triodos Bank include Baglan Community Church in Port Talbot, Glangarnant Nursing Home in Ammanford, Rhuddin Housing Co-operative in Kidwelly and Ty’r Eithin Farm in Llanelli.

To find out more about Triodos Bank and the projects they invest in, please visit To find our more about Awel Co-op, visit


For further information please contact:

Faye Holst – 07521 898 970 –

Helen Bell – 07880 560 233 –

About Triodos Bank

Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking using the power of finance to invest in projects that are good for people and the planet. Triodos uses its €13.5 billion (2016) in assets to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way.

With UK operations based in Bristol, Triodos Bank has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany and an agency in France. Globally, Triodos Bank has microfinance projects in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a worldwide network of 43 banks seeking to transform finance into a vehicle of positive influence.

About Awel Co-op

Awel is a community benefit society established in September 2015 by Awel Aman Tawe, a community energy charity.

Our turbines are situated on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, which is 20 miles north of Swansea. The turbines are forecast to generate an estimated 12,404 MWh of clean energy annually, enough to supply over 2,500 homes per year. This will generate about £3m over the next 25 years of the wind farm to fund low carbon projects in the community.

Triodos Bank NV (incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with limited liability, registered in England and Wales BR3012). Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request