Bridgend Local Energy Revolution: Workshop Announced

In April Sustainable Wales hosted a public lecture at the Grand Pavilion on local energy. (Listen to the podcast here:

Reach followed this up with a workshop on community renewable energy. 

Following the workshop reach commissioned a study to identify opportunities for community renewable  energy in rural Bridgend and are in the process of commissioning for a delivery body to deliver a rural household energy awareness and community energy campaign and to project manage one community’s journey through developing and implementing a community energy project of their own. You can find the tender here.

We have since discovered that quietly there has been a lot of activity regarding local energy in Bridgend and Sustainable Wales have agreed to draw attention to these projects and to host a workshop Bridgend’s Local Energy Revolution. 

It is an exciting time for local energy in Bridgend County and the event will provide an opportunity to hear about some of the projects currently underway and also an opportunity to discuss what’s next for developing local and community energy in Bridgend County. 

Please download here the event invitation and further details. You can also view the invitation document and agenda below (click to enlarge the images).

Kind regards

Geoff Hobbs and Margaret Minhinnick

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Bridgend: FREEDOM energy project - save up to £10,000 on a new efficient boiler!

Exclusive Invitation from Sustainable Wales for Bridgend County Borough

FREEDOM Project trials

24 households are being invited to take part in this FREE pilot Energy Saving Scheme located in Bridgend Borough this summer.  50+ homeowners are already taking part with PassivSystems limited places still available... Details below.

Margaret and Robert Minhinnick of Sustainable Wales have agreed to participate saving between £7-£10,000 on a new combi-boiler and air-source heat pump.

Please contact the company and send a copy to 

click to enlarge

PassivSystems are managing the world leading project based in Bridgend. It's trialling hybrid heating systems which is a combination of a gas boiler and air-source heat pump.

We are searching for a total of 75 homes in the Bridgend area.

There is a great incentive for homeowners to take part in the trial:

  • A free new state-of-the-art hybrid heat pump - this a gas boiler and a hybrid heat pump
  • Free installation 
  • A year of service and maintenance 
  • Smartphone heating controls – control your heating remotely and set when you want heating at more exact times for you
  • Potential savings on your heating bills.
  • Gift card rewards for taking part in project surveys and interviews.
  • The chance to reduce your carbon emissions and directly improve the Bridgend’s carbon footprint.

Installations will be taking place in July 2017, August 2017, September 2017 and October 2017. An installation typically takes 3 to 4 days, homeowners would be without heating and hot water for no longer than 4 hours (in the middle of the day) over that period.

PassivSystems will be monitoring the hybrid heat pump until April 2018, the project ends in May 2018.

The homeowner will not incur any costs or have to pay for anything. Once the project is complete, the homeowner will have to complete the annual service which is typical of all heating systems.

Download the following information (PDF):

Letter from Sustainable Wales

Info on the project

Homeowner's FAQ

One Wales Energy - Un Ynni Cymru launches!

New Welsh energy start up:

One Wales Energy

One Wales Energy

Founders Jon Townend and Jude Cook tell us how the business started:

Jude & Jon

Jude & Jon

“We’ve known each other for over 20 years and have both worked in the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors. During that time we have started and run our own businesses providing services to the general public and business communities in Wales.

Most recently we’ve worked together in the renewable energy sector and as partners in our energy consultancy, offering advice to clients in South Wales.

Through our work, particularly with community energy groups, we realised that in Wales we are losing out – at present there is no dual fuel domestic energy supplier actively trading and based in Wales, so most of the money we all spend on energy is leaving Wales

We started to look at ways in which an energy business could offer a fairer and more exciting energy future for Wales, where energy is more affordable and sustainable and people in Wales could benefit from the profits.

Find out more on the website

Invest in the project

One Wales Energy – Un Ynni Cymru was born!

We are totally committed to bringing a new approach to energy supply in Wales. We’ll be offering competitive tariffs, generating profits for investors in Wales, supporting community projects and helping to nurture a cleaner, greener, more resilient domestic energy supply sector.

This is an exciting time as we prepare to launch the business and take our first step towards making One Wales Energy – Un Ynni Cymru into Wales’ leading energy supply company.  We hope that families, communities, organisations and businesses in Wales will be proud to join us on our journey and help us ‘put the energy back into Wales.’ ”

Everything we do, from our Wales-based bilingual contact centre to fair tariff pricing, to our business structure and local ownership – is all part of working to achieving this goal.

The Welsh domestic energy supply market is worth £1.4 billion. We aim to secure 10% of that market by 2023 and you could benefit from the profits!

We will run One Wales Energy – Un Ynni Cymru as a ‘profit with purpose’ business.  This approach combines a conventional profit-making business with a commitment to supporting social and environmental benefits for Wales.

One of the ways we will do this is through a Community Affiliate Scheme, offering organisations a way to generate a long term income stream, by earning referral and retention fees when their members, supporters, local community etc. switch to us.


(edit 25.07.2017)

New Resources added to our energy links page

We've added some more resources to our links and download page devoted to community renewable energy:


PDF An 'Energiewende' for Wales scoping document (regenwales) 

A Smarter Energy Future for Wales report - National Assembly for Wales. March 2016 - PDF 5.5mb

Call for Small Scale Renewable Energy Proposals March 2017

English (PDF)  -  Cymraeg (PDF)

Institute of Welsh Affairs: 

Re-energising Wales - Funding renewable energy projects in Wales (PDF download)

Questions to ask decision-makers about community energy

- to ask politicians/policy makers  Word document (English) and Word document (Cymraeg)

IWA report ‘Funding renewable energy projects in Wales

On the launch of the IWA report ‘Funding renewable energy projects in Wales’, Shea Jones sets out the barriers and opportunities to Wales reaching its climate change targets

‘As a nation, we are rich in energy resources and this provides a tremendous opportunity to fuel our drive for a fairer and more prosperous Wales and to achieve a better quality of life for our own and future generations’.

This statement comes directly from the First Minister’s foreword to Welsh Government’s ‘Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition’. Renewable energy across Wales has the potential to substantially boost the Welsh economy and significantly help Wales to meet its climate change targets, however accessing funding for projects across Wales is currently one of the biggest barriers to achieving this potential as outlined in a report published today by the Institute of Welsh Affairs. 

The report ‘Funding Renewable Energy Projects in Wales’ highlights the missed opportunities and the main barriers to being able to raise financial capital from within Wales for renewable energy schemes in order to ensure that wider economic and social benefits are retained locally. It is the first report to be launched as part of the IWA’s ‘Re-Energising Wales’ project which will set out a plan to enable Wales to meet its projected energy demands entirely from renewable sources by 2035.

Read the full article download the report


Feed-in Tariff cuts not the end of local community energy schemes

Feed-in Tariff cuts not the end of local community energy schemes

There have been a number of concerns raised recently about the future of community energy - withsome local groups understandably worried about cuts to Feed-in Tariff rates. However Graham Ayling, Head of Energy Saving Trust Foundation, thinks its time is coming. 

'There's no denying that the past year has been incredibly tough for community energy groups who've put their heart and soul into projects, only to have to go back to square one as government policy changed. However, this is an incredibly resilient sector, full of people determined to drive forward action on climate change and bring about a fairer, more democratic energy sector. It isn't about to roll-over and give up.

In the short-term, there's still a lot going on as many community groups pre-registered for the Feed-in Tariff (FiTs) so their projects should go ahead. For example, there's a great project we've been involved with in Swansea, where the council is setting up a community solar PV scheme in some of its most deprived areas, with the aim to directly benefit those wards. These schemes will make the sector stronger, generating income for new community projects, as well asrenewable energy.'

Full article at WCVA site.

The rise of green energy can't be stopped

The UK missed its target to generate 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2010, but, just 5 years later in 2015 was up to nearly 25 per cent:

"It's incredible growth and a pattern that's being repeated globally. This is the future. Look at solar PV - a few years ago there was no financial payback, now it's on the verge of becoming one of the cheapest ways to generate energy. Uptake has been way beyond what anyone expected, because it's a popular technology. This isn't going to go away.

In the past, there was a perception that making a greener choice was always a compromise, but now people can see that the technology is good and can fit in with their lifestyle. It's really going to take off. What's needed now is policy that recognises and grabs the opportunity.'

Ultimately, Ayling is confident the DIY culture of community energy will see it through current challenges. He added:

'Community energy has always been about going out and doing it regardless. Of course funding helps, but it feels like we're on the verge of finding ways to do without subsidy if needs be. Then, who is going to stop it?'

Campaigning to support renewable energy Shine a Light? The next steps…

Campaigning to support renewable energy

Shine a Light? The next steps…

The aims of ‘Shine a Light?/Golau Newydd?’ are to profile local community energy, to educate, and to provide an effective campaigning tool.

A vital step should be to develop new partnerships. Importantly, these must include Local Authorities.

‘Shine a Light?/Golau Newydd’ directly challenges local politicians ‘to wake-up and smell the coffee’ as one contributor, Alan Simpson, says.

But there must be mutual benefit, and the community energy network must be better at communicating our approach.

We cannot expect the excellent Robert Proctor to do it all!

Community Energy faces many obstacles but ‘Shine a Light?’ outlines the potential in local jobs, community involvement and regeneration, whilst reducing our local carbon footprint.

What we learned in the making of the film is that those who work on community/local renewable energy projects are real local heroes.

As director I attempted to become familiar with the often intricate detail of renewable projects. Often, many years of activists’ lives are dedicated to community renewable energy.

The people we interviewed for the film – from Bro Gwaun to Awel Aman Tawe to Taf Bargoed to Cenin at Parc Stormy, clearly had to learn on the job. Often the hard way.

Yet it is unlikely that politicians can or will get to grips with community energy, unless there is a groundswell of support from the public for local renewables.

However, who does stand out is former Labour MP, Alan Simpson. It is Simpson’s enthusiasm for local energy that originally inspired Sustainable Wales to make ‘Shine a Light?’?Golau Newydd.

Everyone at our charity feels that there is enough international evidence, and certainly a moral case, to ensure far better provision of local energy.

But we understand that these heroes have to spend so much time getting projects off the ground that little opportunity remains to explain either their difficulties or their projects’ virtues.

Excellent advocates and communicators such as Alan Simpson are vital. But it’s also important that ‘practitioners’ become lobbyists, as Paul Kent, Dan McCallum, Tom Latter and Martyn Popham have proved.

Others in the network need to help. It isn’t enough for the environmental NGO’s to campaign, local energy practitioners have to become more vocal as we develop a local economy fit for the twenty-first century.

Shine a Light? / Golau Newydd? was the only Welsh made film in the 2016 UK Green Film Festival held in Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. (Screened May 6).

The discussion afterwards was thoughtful and stimulating. Sue Essex (former Welsh Assembly Environment Minister) commented on the importance of providing evidence such as ‘Shine a Light?/Golau Newydd’ for politicians.

Crucially, everyone agreed, the film must be screened as widely as possible, using all social media.

“The community energy movement needs to innovate; to find new ways to bridge the gap between where we find ourselves today and the arrival of grid parity”, comments Leo Murray Director of Strategy 10:10 in “Community Energy The Way Forward”.

Sustainable Wales also wishes like to make further high quality films about local energy. They could profile:

  • *good practice wherever it might be found;
  • *the benefits that local renewable schemes can bring to particular areas;
  • *the importance of ‘energy clusters’ such as Cenin, at Parc Stormy, Porthcawl;
  • *new ways of financing;
  • *local partnerships;
  • *social benefits;
  • *battery storage;
  • *obtaining a greater share of the retail value of the energy;
  • *reclaiming the Grid. 

Your suggestions are very welcome. Letters of support and creative ideas would also assist in grant applications, crowd funding, etc.

Sustainable Wales believes that well made film can communicate in a uniquely powerful manner. But to achieve high quality production, we require funds.

Film and funding ideas should be sent to: Margaret Minhinnick






A Smarter Energy Future for Wales report

A Smarter Energy Future for Wales report is published:

The key messages from the Committee are:

If Wales is to meet its climate change obligation of at least an 80% reduction by 2050 we need to change the way we think about energy; its generation, distribution, storage and conservation. The landmark deal on climate change in Paris last December sets a framework for Wales to accelerate its action in this area, making real strides towards reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and setting the bar high for a new energy model.

Leadership is key to achieving an energy transformation, with a clear and stable policy direction paving the way. This policy must lead Wales to a decarbonised energy system, with the aim of Wales meeting all of its energy needs from renewable sources. Local energy supply to local markets is a cornerstone of this new policy, and, whilst larger-scale inward investment projects will continue to play a part in providing energy security, diffused local solutions must also feature highly in a future renewable, sustainable energy jigsaw.

Energy conservation and demand reduction must be addressed, and are areas where Wales holds the necessary levers and powers to take action now. Both new buildings and existing housing stock present opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

Find out more:

Read the full briefing 

Up to date history of the debate surrounding this issue from the Environment and Sustainability Committee at the National Assembly for Wales.

Download the report (PDF 5.5mb English language version, the above briefing link is available in Welsh). PDF link will open in a new window. Our Shine a Light? Community Energy links and resources page has this document and more...