Terry Pugh from Tairgwaith
Terry has built a robot which he takes into schools to teach children about energy, forces and the science of power! And he knows what he’s talking about, having worked as a mechanical fitter in the collieries for 16 years. After the pitclosures, he retrained as a Medical Electronics Engineer and worked at Prince Philip Hospital. He was one of the first members of Awel Co-op. “I worked for years in the coal industry, but renewables are the future. Not only are we making clean energy” he says, “but you feel you’re doing a bit of good for the community. ”
Jan Jones from Alltwen
Jan was a primary school teacher before settling in Alltwen 30 years ago. She went on to co-run the King Street Gallery co-op in Carmarthen for many years, making and selling her own ceramics and glass. She’s campaigned all her life to do things that will save our planet because, as she points out, ‘we’ve only got one’; things like breaking into nuclear power stations, and sitting in front of trucks. ‘I’ve never invested in anything before’ she says, ‘but as soon as I heard about Awel, I didn’t hesitate to join. I get to help build wind turbines that don’t pollute the earth and I get a return on my money!’
Clare Ford from Cilybebyll
Clare was given shares in Awel as a Christmas present. “I love having shares in a windfarm” she says, “Especially a community windfarm where the money is reinvested locally.” She’s a passionate vegetable grower and an active cyclist, enjoying the steep Welsh hill climbs. She moved here 25 years ago as a single parent and settled in the community. She works as a physiotherapist in Morriston Hospital, and says about her job that “it’s a privilege to be invited into people’s lives.”
Anna and Nigel Smith from Brynaman
Anna and Nigel have lived in Brynaman most of their lives. They run a local business buying and selling vintage things. They upcycle, they repair, they create. Nigel is into cars and motorbikes, well, anything on wheels. Anna sews, crochets and gardens. They love camping and long walks with their family, “preferably by rivers, waterfalls and trees” Anna says. “We believe in renewables, love the idea of local windfarm and felt we could be part of Awel because it was local, not some faceless multinational corporation. And by the way”, she adds, “we’ve named them Windy Miller and Gustavia”.
Joseph and Zoe Pearce from Pontardawe
Joseph, Zoe and Millie, their Cocker Spaniel, moved to Pontardawe 3 years ago. Joe is a Marine Surveyor and Zoe is a Translator. They wanted to be closer to work and to the mountains where they love walking Millie. “We invested in Awel as soon as we heard about it”, Joseph says. “We are both very eco thinking, we have an electric car and 100% green energy tariffs but the idea of community run generation really appealed to us and we hope that the model at Awel is a starting block for many more to come!”
Catrin Campbell from Brynaman
Catrin has lived her whole life in the Amman Valley. She is Head of Geography at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman where she has worked for the past 18 years. “As a Geography teacher I am aware of the recent changes in supply of and demand for energy” she says, “as well as the importance of finding a sustainable energy sources for the future that can also benefit the community”. She has invested in Awel Co-op for her son. He is 7 years old and is keen to know if part of the wind turbine has his name on it!
Linda Bentham from Gwaun cae Gurwen
Linda settled in Gwaun cae Gurwen 5 years ago. She worked for Jobcentre Plus for 27 years, and said the best aspect of the job was helping people. She is now a volunteer librarian at the community library Y Lolfa and is about to become a Community Councillor. “I am opposed to fracking” she says and believes wind energy is a way to tackle climate change. “I smile every time I drive into the village and see our turbines turning. I only have a small share, but love it that the cost of a share makes being part of this open to so many people.”
Colin Jones from Brynaman
Colin Jones was born in Ystradowen close to the Cwmllynfell colliery where local miners donated money from their small earnings to build a public hall. This meant that activities like opera, cinema, brass bands, library and snooker could be held. After 9 years in the Army, Colin moved with his family to Brynaman where he worked the area as a service engineer for Hotpoint, played rugby for the village and helped set up the community run Black Mountain Centre. “Putting money into a venture like Awel wind farm, which in turn donates to local schemes, reminds me of the pride I feel for my distant relatives who helped create opportunities for everyone.”
Mike Grogan from Trap
Mike retired to Wales with his wife Lesley 12 years ago and they live in Trap. Most of his working life was spent working for Bayer chemical company. Now that he’s retired he enjoys working with ‘and against’ Mother Nature to grow veg and fruit. He is a committee member of Trap Community Association and The Trap Show. “Like a lot of parents and grandparents” he says, “the threat posed by climate change is of concern. I believe it is important that we all do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint, hence my investment in Awel. Local investment keeps the benefits within the community. And” he adds “the returns are also attractive!”
Dewi and Annette Hughes from Cwm Tawe
The Swansea Valley is close to the hearts of Dewi and Annette Hughes. They have both worked in the Valley, Dewi as a minister and Annette as a teacher. They came back to live in Clydach after retiring 12 years ago. “Our efforts to protect the environment are founded on our Christian beliefs,” says Annette. “The world that God created for us is beautiful, and can sustain an amazing variety of life forms, both plants and animals. But it is a fragile world, and we abuse it so often. We must look after it for the next generation. This is why we have solar panels on our roof, and why we are fervent supporters of Awel.”
Ryan Morris from Rhos
Ryan has lived all his life in Rhos. He has many interests and skills – from making wooden bowls to building his own computer. He has visited over a dozen European cities in the last two years and has a keen interest in science and technology. He already has several investments, including land, crypto-currencies, and on two major peer-to-peer lending platforms but he joined Awel as he wanted to diversify his portfolio. “I firmly believe the days of fossil fuel dependence are limited” he says. “I believe that decentralisation, in both energy and currency, is extremely important in order for them to be efficiently and competitively managed, as well as provide security in the event of catastrophe.”
Sonia Reynolds from Tairgwaith
Sonia has always been involved in local community organisations in and around the Amman Valley and, since retiring, she has been elected as a Neath Port Talbot County Borough Councillor. A firm believer in community enterprise, she actively supported Awel Aman Tawe’s proposals to build the windfarm from the beginning. “I see an investment in Awel as a win for the environment, our community and me,” she says. “We have to take our future into our own hands”. She enjoys riding her horse on the mountain above her family smallholding, and appreciates the improved access due to the new track by the turbines.
Jane Burnard from Gwaun cae Gurwen
Jane moved with her partner, Gareth, to Gwaun Cae Gurwen six months ago. They moved into Gareth’s family home. “Gareth’s mother was passionate about the whole project,” Jane says “and part of why we wanted to invest was because of her.” But more than that, she adds. “It seems obvious to invest in clean energy, and to try to help the community in which you live. It’s better interest than anything else around at the moment. And so nice to actually see your investment turning away beautifully and generating on a daily basis!” Jane is a freelance children’s books writer and editor. She enjoys walking, gardening, and learning to speak Welsh.
Phil Coleman from Pontardawe
Phil moved to Pontardawe in 1992. He works for the Waterfront Museum in Swansea. He buys his domestic electricity comes from Ecotricity. He’s also got shares in Tradecraft and is a member of Phone Co-op. “I try and put my money where my mouth is”, he says. “If we want a future, we need to build it ourselves, not wait for the cavalry. The Arts Centre used to be the Miners Institute and was built from contributions from the miners. We need to get back to a more cooperative lifestyle and build stuff ourselves”. The 5% from the wind is a good rate of return and Phil invests with a clear conscience “You can have your cake and eat it!”