A locally owned community energy charity has received a major boost after Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths confirmed it will receive a Welsh Government loan of over £3.5million for its wind scheme.
The Awel Aman Tawe Community Energy Charity in Swansea will benefit from up to £3.55m which will enable work to progress on developing the Mynydd y Gwrhyd windfarm. The money will help the project meet an important deadline for securing a higher level of income from Feed in Tariffs (FiT), a payment made to households or businesses that generate their own electricity from renewable resources.
Awel Aman Tawe (AAT) has been developing a 2-turbine 4.7MW community wind farm north of Pontardawe for some time. The project has been supported by the Welsh Government’s Ynni’r Fro programme since 2010, and its successor the Local Energy Service.
The UK Government made changes last year to Feed in Tariffs (FiT), lowering the rates paid out, thereby making it less attractive for smaller producers to generate their own energy. However if a project has pre-registered for FiT it is guaranteed a set level of return if it is connected to the energy grid and operating by 29 March 2017.
The money announced by the Welsh Government today, along with over a million pounds raised by the group, will enable AAT to make a payment for a wind turbine and help the Mynydd y Gwrhyd meet this important deadline.
Visiting the site of the Mynydd y Gwrhyd windfarm today the Cabinet Secretary said:
“The Welsh Government has been a big supporter of local renewable energy generation. Schemes such as this provide clean energy and valuable jobs, with people locally developing expertise in leading local development. They also help build a real sense of community cohesion, at the same time as helping tackle climate change.
I am pleased to be able to confirm today a loan of over £3.5million to the Awel Aman Tawe Community Energy Charity. This money will enable renewable energy generation to continue in the Swansea Valley and the income will help AAT to work with people locally on projects whose many benefits will continue to be felt for years to come”.