“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.

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:

  • awel.coop which owns a two-turbine 4.7MW wind scheme on the Gwrhyd above Pontardawe
  • egni.coop 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 www.awel.coop

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.

‘Flood’
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 (Sioned.haf@bangor.ac.uk) for further information. You can reserve your place by following this link:

http://communityenergywales.org.uk/expanding-knowledge-of-community-energy-in-wales/

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
http://www.tynewydd.wales/course/writing-climate-change/

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 www.awel.coop, and other exciting projects which have open share offers or are about to launch new offers include www.ynniteg.cymru ,  Carmarthenshire Energy,  www.egni.coop and www.gowerpower.coop  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 www.awel.coop 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 triodos.co.uk/changemakers. To find our more about Awel Co-op, visit www.awel.coop

-Ends-

For further information please contact:

Faye Holst – 07521 898 970 – faye.holst@greenhousepr.co.uk

Helen Bell – 07880 560 233 – helen.bell@greenhousepr.co.uk

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.

www.triodos.co.uk

www.knowwhereyourmoneygoes.co.uk

www.twitter.com/triodosuk

www.facebook.com/triodosbankuk

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.

http://awel.coop

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

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!