This was the message from Environment Minister, John Griffiths, who outlined how the community energy scheme, Ynni’r Fro is providing intensive support to 24 community renewable projects that embrace hydro, wind and anaerobic digestion technologies.
Ynni’r Fro is an European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Welsh Government funded programme that supports the creation and expansion of sustainable social enterprises by working with communities to identify renewable energy generation projects across Wales.
The Minister said:
"Our Ynni’r Fro programme encourages local communities to think about whether they can develop their own renewable energy projects.
"Our support allows communities to develop and implement a renewable energy project that they feel is right for them. It also allows them to create local employment opportunities and generate a secure and sustainable income that can be invested back into the community.
"I am pleased to report that the Ynni’r Fro programme is now providing intensive support to 24 separate community renewable energy projects across Wales. We are also on track to hit our target of creating and sustaining 22 full time jobs that are directly related to community renewable energy projects.
"One of the key elements of Ynni’r Fro is the support provided by locally based development officers who work with communities in helping them to develop and progress their projects. These officers provide tailored advice and support on everything from energy technologies through to community engagement and finance. This includes grants to cover technical feasibility work and environmental surveys - exactly the kind of support that is needed to turn community aspirations into realistic plans and tangible outcomes."
The Minister also celebrated the success of Mynydd y Gwrhyd wind farm as an example of what could be achieved. He said:
"It is worth remembering what low carbon energy generation can deliver. The 4MW Mynydd y Gwrhyd wind farm will save approximately 9,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, provide clean energy for around 2,000 homes and provide an income stream that will be invested into energy efficiency measures for low income families. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved by community involvement in energy generation and I hope it will inspire others to think about their own projects."