Awel Co-op Wind Farm
The inspiration for Awel Co-op’s wind farm was the lack of funding for local community projects. Many crucial local regeneration schemes were continually having to apply for grant funding, putting them on an insecure financial footing. So the wind farm wanted to create an income-generating project that could provide a sustainable income stream for these community projects.
The local community group chose a wind project because they also wanted to address the challenges of climate change and transitioning to a low carbon economy. The area immediately surrounding the wind farm has historically been a coal mining community and, with the reduction of mining activity in the area, it had hit hard times. As a result, people have embraced both the idea of the wind farm as a community-owned asset for community benefit, but also moving away from a local economy based on fossil fuels to one dependent on sustainable energy.
The reality is that the wind farm wouldn’t be there without Triodos Bank. It’s a £8.25m project, and the Triodos loan is £5.25m, so it’s an essential part of the scheme. But more than that, the fact that it had Triodos Bank funding gave people confidence in the project. Because it had been thoroughly looked at by an independent set of eyes, more people have been willing to buy into its share offer, which has now raised £3m.
In addition to the financial support, Awel received incredible amounts of advice over the years as it developed the project. Triodos gave the organisation suggestions on how to go about planning and executing the plan to achieve the best outcomes and gave it insight into the types of things that would need to be in place to secure funding.