“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.

Meet the new wind farm bosses!

Tiddlywinks Childcare Centre, based in Ystalyfera, caught a break in the weather to visit Awel Co-op wind turbines last week. Thanks to a grant from the Hamamelis Charitable Trust, Tiddlywinks are now proud owners of £500 worth of shares in the co-op wind farm.

Liz Cole, Business Manager at Tiddlywinks said “The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They asked loads of questions there on site and afterwards during the ride home and at the Centre! Helen Davies from Awel Aman Tawe was very good with all the children (and staff!), answering queries and showing patience with their over-enthusiasm. We are now very proud to be co-owners of the turbines as part of the co-op along with other members.”

Dan McCallum, one of Awel Co-op’s Directors, said “We want our turbines to be owned by as many people and groups as possible. We are delighted that this grant funding has enabled Tiddlywinks to own shares in the project. This means they’ll get a projected 5% return per year for 20 years on their £500 investment. It helps improves their sustainability and is a really good educational experience for the children. They’ll be able to visit the site whenever they want and say ‘we own those windmills!’. We are hoping to secure further funding to award shares to other community groups in the local area.”

Dan added “A number of charities have also invested as they see our project as a good fit with their charitable aims, want to help generate clean energy and get a good return on their investment. We are delighted that Friends Provident Foundation have invested £100,000, Other charities and community organisations which have invested include the Environmental Justice Foundation (£5000), Vision 21 (£5,000), Robert Owen Community Banking (£20,000) and NSA Afan (£5,000). However, smaller local charities such as Tiddlywinks don’t have funds to invest so it’s wonderful that grant funding can be used to give them a stake in the turbines.”

Liz Cole said “Tiddlywinks provides all childcare needs in the local community and has been doing so since 1996. We are fully registered and regulated. We have professional and qualified staff, providing centre-based and mobile crèche facilities for children aged from 6 weeks to 13 years. There is more information on our website www.tiddlywinkscyf.org or by phoning us on 01639 842022.”

Owned by local Awel Co-op, the project consists of two 2.35MWh Enercon wind turbines which began production on January 25th 2017 and are expected to generate enough clean, low carbon, energy a year to supply the equivalent of about 2500 homes.  Dan McCallum said “Production at the site has been very good and we’ve already produced more than 5 million kwh. Given that the first four weeks were a test period, we are ahead of schedule and are really pleased.”

The wind farm, which is located on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, close to the town of Pontardawe and about 20 miles north of Swansea, recently secured one of the largest investments ever seen in the Amman Valley; a 15-year, £5.25m investment from Triodos, Europe’s leading sustainable bank.

The co-op has also raised a further £2.4m through a local share offer, the largest ever in Wales. The share offer is aiming to raise £3m in total before the end of October which will enable it to refinance a Welsh Government loan. Dan added “We are keen to refinance this loan as it’s @7.5% whereas our share offer is @5%. Welsh Government can then use the money to help support other community energy projects.”

Awel Co-op is backed by Hollywood star, Michael Sheen, who hails from Port Talbot;  Welsh rugby legend Paul Thorburn; National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke; and Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Energy in Machynlleth, Powys.

Awel Co-op has sought to celebrate creativity and fun to engage people as part of the project.  Double BAFTA-winner, Mike Harrison, made an inspiring film of the erection of the turbines, capturing a magnificent Welsh sunrise. Our timelapse, of the construction of the foundations, entitled Bake Off, and set to music is here.

Are we a tourist attraction?

Over 60 investors and members of the public came to our first Open Day since the turbines were fully operational. Over 200 came last year during the construction. We think this suggests a lot of people like wind turbines, especially ones you can own!

Some of our visitors on the Open Day

Our Open Day was part of Community Energy Fortnight. Views were spectacular down to Swansea Bay with the North Devon Coast clearly visible. Even the Preselis in Pembrokeshire could be seen.

N.Devon in the distance!

We’ve now generated nearly 5 million kwh of clean power since the turbines were commissioned at the end of January.

Zoe and Millie the dog

Community Energy Fortnight also saw the release of State of the Sector report in Manchester last weekend, which showed the sector has mushroomed to a staggering £190 million.

Charging the car with windpower
  • At least 30,000 people have invested in community energy groups
  • The movement has built 188 MW of renewable energy capacity
  • Less than ten community energy organisations existed in 2010. 222 community energy groups now exist across the country

Most of the cash raised has been through co-operatives (186 of the 222 organisations surveyed were Community Benefit Societies, a form of co-op like Awel). This helps show a long-term grass-roots commitment to renewable energy.

Awel’s share offer is still open @5% annual return until the end of July. Do join us!

 

Awel Co-op Shortlisted For Major Industry Award

The Awel Coop community wind farm project near Swansea has been nominated in the ‘Community-Led Placemaking’ category at the 2017 Planning Awards.

The annual awards recognise outstanding work in areas such as infrastructure planning, stakeholder engagement and planning permissions, as well as placemaking, urban design, economic development, housing, regeneration, legal advice and environmental consulting.

Dan McCallum, Director said “We are delighted to be shortlisted. It took us 18 years to get this project through planning and built. It is important that the planning system takes more account of community placemaking as this was our vision right from the start. We wanted to harness a local asset, wind, to enable local regeneration. It’s wonderful now to see our turbines in place, generating clean power and we want to encourage more people to visit our site. We’re having an Open Day on July 4th between 4 – 8pm. Anyone is welcome to attend – please email info@awelamantawe.co.uk or call 01639 830870 to reserve a place. Wind-powered tea, coffee and welshcakes will be available!”

Owned by local Awel Co-op, the project consists of two 2.35MWh Enercon wind turbines which began production in January and are expected to generate an estimated 12,558 MWh of clean, low carbon, energy a year, enough to supply over 2000 homes.

The wind farm, which is located on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, close to the town of Pontardawe and about 20 miles north of Swansea, recently secured one of the largest investments ever seen in the Amman Valley; a 15-year, £5.25m investment from Triodos, Europe’s leading sustainable bank.

Dan added “In addition to Triodos, we want to thank our advisors who worked hard with us over many years to secure planning permission – Dulas, ADAS and our legal team at Burges Salmon.”

The co-op has also raised a further £2.3m through a local share offer, the largest ever in Wales. The share offer is aiming to raise £3m in total before the end of July which will enable it to refinance a Welsh Government loan.

The project is backed by Hollywood star, Michael Sheen, who hails from Port Talbot;  Welsh rugby legend Paul Thorburn; National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke; and Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Energy in Machynlleth, Powys.

The winners will be announced at Savoy Place in London on Wednesday 21st June.

 

Teaming up with 10:10 and new Open Day announced

It’s Community Energy Fortnight from June 24th – July 9th and all over the country there are events to galvanise support for clean power. To celebrate this and to draw attention to Global Wind Day (today!), we are opening up one of Awel’s turbines for people to see inside a wind turbine. So if you’ve always wanted to see what it’s like inside those towers, come along to our Open Day on July 4th. There’ll be wind-powered tea and coffee, and welshcakes!

It’s a drop-in event from 4pm to 8pm. The site is on Mynydd y Gwrhyd – about 5 miles north of Pontardawe and 20 miles north of Swansea with spectacular views. The nearest postcode is SA8 4TA and there is a map here. Parking is available so no walking is required. Please email info@awelamantawe.co.uk to reserve your place. We’ll be in the Queen of Hearts pub in Cwmgors afterwards to answer any other questions over a pint and chips!

We have also teamed up with the charity, 10:10, who are running a fantastic campaign to support wind energy in the UK. 10:10 have set up a crowdfunding appeal to buy £250 of shares in Awel Coop for Sajid Javid, the Minister with responsibility for wind energy policy and the new Shadow Secretary of State, Teresa Pearce. This will give key politicians a blast of Welsh community wind power and we hope it’ll help shape their future policies. You can see the campaign and support here.

There is still time to invest in our Share Offer and you can join us for a minimum of £50. We have raised nearly £2.3m so far of our £3m target and secured a £5.25m loan from Triodos Bank. Our ongoing Share Offer is being used to pay back a loan from Welsh Government – we are keen to refinance as Welsh Government is strongly committed to community renewables and this money can be used to support more projects.

Our turbines are generating ahead of prediction – 4,525,600 kWh so far since the turbines were commissioned on January 25th – enough to supply about 1000 homes for a year (pic of our meter here). Watch the stunning film of the turbines going up. Do read more on www.awel.coop  and complete an application form for shares! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01639 830870 or email info@awelamantawe.co.uk.

Awel Co-op secures £5.25m loan for community wind farm

Awel Co-op, an award-winning community wind farm, are celebrating a £5.25m investment by Triodos Bank. Dan McCallum, one of the co-op’s directors, said

“We are delighted that Triodos, the leading ethical bank in the UK, have decided to provide a 15 year loan to us. They awarded the loan after an extensive due diligence process on the wind farm. This is one of the largest ever investments in the Amman Valley, a former coal mining community. Triodos have been key backers of the very exciting community energy sector for years in the UK but this is the first time, they’ve been able to invest in an energy co-op in Wales.”

Left to right at rear: Victoria Allsopp and Elin Blundell, Burges Salmon; Ben Kumordzie, TLT, Triodos’ solicitor. At front, Mary Ann Brocklesby and Dan McCallum, Awel Co-op

The co-op has now decided to extend its Share Offer until the end of July or until it reaches its target of £3m. This will enable Awel to refinance a Welsh Government loan of £1.2m. The interest rate will for shares will remain @5%/year in order to reach the £3m target as soon as possible. The project was backed by Hollywood star, Michael Sheen, who hails from Port Talbot;  Paul Thorburn, Wales rugby legend; Gillian Clarke,  Wales first National Poet; and Paul Allen  of the Centre for Alternative Energy.

Steve Moore from Triodos said “Having known this project a long time it is great to see it come to fruition.  Community engagement is at the heart of this project and this is evidenced by the success of the wide base of shareholders in the community.  All community projects are about people and this is no exception – Awel have shown rare levels of resilience and dedication to overcome many challenges and make this project happen, and they can be justly proud of their magnificent achievement.  These are not easy projects to deliver and we have been able to utilise our experience gained from over a decade of supporting similar community owned projects.”

Dan added “We want to acknowledge the critical role that Welsh Government played in providing us with bridging finance of £3.55m to get our project built. This has enabled us to undertake our share offer which has so far raised £2.26m, and secure finance from Triodos.  This deserves to be made a case study of how government support can enable community engagement and help lever finance into one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

We also want to thank  Ynni Lleol/Local Energy, Big Society Capital, Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust, Robert Owen Community Banking and EU Regional Programmes for providing vital development funding. We are also very grateful for the support of our legal advisors, Burges Salmon, who have been on this journey with us from the start. Without the commitment of Burges Salmon staff, our project would not have been built.

All our profits, estimated to be £3m over 20 years, will be ploughed into further low carbon projects in our community. We want our wind farm to be owned by as many people, charities and community groups as possible – it’s fantastic that you can co-own a wind farm from £50. As a co-op, it’s one member, one vote irrespective of how many shares someone owns. And you’ll be able to see where your money is going! Visit www.awel.coop for more info”

Notes to Editor

Awel Co-op has sought to celebrate creativity and fun to engage people as part of the construction, and future running, of the wind farm. Our timelapse, of the construction of the foundations, entitled Bake Off and set to music, can be seen here. Double Welsh BAFTA-winner, Mike Harrison, made an inspiring film of the erection of the turbine, capturing a magnificent Welsh sunrise.

The project consists of two Enercon wind turbines, each with a capacity of 2.35MW. The wind farm has a capacity of 4.7MW and will generate enough to meet the equivalent annual electricity needs of over 2000 homes. Production levels so far have already exceeded expectation. The wind farm is located on Mynydd y Gwrhyd close to the town of Pontardawe. It is about 20 miles north of Swansea on the western edge of the Valleys.

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…)