The charity believes such local schemes are an answer to climate change(**) and the chronic fuel poverty now encountered in Wales.
(Latest figures from the Welsh government indicate 30% of the Welsh population experiences fuel poverty - defined as spending over 10% of income on fuel).
“The films, made by innovative Park6 Productions, are a means to broadcast the community energy message and to encourage the public, local authority staff and politicians to learn more”, said Sustainable Wales Director, Margaret Minhinnick.
“The three short community-based films aim to highlight the challenges groups face in Wales to develop local renewable energy. Their content supports the idea of democratising our energy supply, bringing ownership and profit back into communities whilst reducing climate change”.
The films show community groups Bro Gwaun near Fishguard, which now has a wind turbine; Awel Aman Tawe in the Swansea Valley with planning for 2 turbines, and Friends of Taff Bargoed Country Park developing a hydro power scheme in Treharris near Merthyr.
The three films were launched at the ‘Renew Wales’ conference, at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, on January 20. The response was overwhelmingly supportive.
Margaret Minhinnick explained “Local energy schemes are massively important in Germany and other EU countries, creating local jobs and supporting the local economy, but the UK has been extremely slow to catch on.”
“The three films are based around local groups which have fought against the odds. They are run by real local heroes in Wales striving to make this happen in spite of all the challenges they face and hard work it entails.’ said Robert Proctor, Renew Wales Director.
“We will be producing further films which will profile the energy ideas of political thinkers like Dr Calvin Jones of Cardiff University and former MP Alan Simpson. Also, we hope to profile the green energy ‘cluster’ at Parc Stormy (Stormy Down), where exciting developments are underway continued Margaret “Sustainable Wales believes that local community energy schemes are the way ahead.”
Further information: 01656 783962
Robert Proctor. Tel: 02920 190260
The three films, produced by Sustainable Wales were funded by the Big Lottery ‘Awards For All’ programme with support from Renew Wales. and Community Energy Wales www.communityenergywales.org.uk
Park6Productions (who support the charity by offering reduced fees)
**Welsh Local Government Association climate change projections suggest that if we don’t plan ahead extreme weather events will become more prevalent. The conditions outlined below are likely:
· essential infrastructure (transport, IT energy, waste) may be compromised;
· water and food supply may be disrupted;
· risks to communities increase, especially among the elderly and other vulnerable groups;
· economic productivity may be reduced due to flooding, high temperatures and transport impacts;
· agriculture may suffer due to loss of soils, lack of water;
· ecosystems services (flood retention, food production) may be degraded.