WOW what a few months. out of 130 community energy projects the National Trust and the small community of Abergwyngregyn nestling between the Menai straits and the Carneddau mountains in Snowdonia wins one of seven Community Energy Challenge awards. If you’ve been following the blog we have been working on a 500kw high head hydro with the Abergwyngregyn Regeneration Company. With the award comes a suite of management, development, financial, legal and project support from the highly respected Cooperative renewable energy teams. The purpose of the award is to show case the issues and possible development of fairly chunky renewable energy systems which directly benefits a community and adds a long term income stream to the sustainable development of that community. It is also about the sharing of the lessons, tool kits and approaches with many more communities, organisation and policy makers. Community energy is much vaunted in the UK but in terms of scale its a tiddler on the european community renewable energy stage. (Have a look at Germany).
It’s not easy out there in the UK for community energy to flourish. There are excellent examples such as Energy for All, a fellow Ashden winner. We should be looking at Twh not Gwh if we are to have an impact on fuel poverty, carbon reduction and sustainable communities who have an equitable share in their local environmental resources.
Why have we bothered? The National Trust if you look at its ‘articles’ its raison d’être is about the sustaining of its properties. We still are, we also recognise that by working ‘outside our boundaries’ and by enabling, working in partnership we can sustain the properties which should never be thought of as islands but i hope as hubs and catalysts
The National Trust maintains its relevance by using its skills and resources and special places in innovative, considered but ultimately common sense ways to help others and ourselves and the properties we conserve and value. (bit of a soap box from me but its true!)
The most rewarding bit about this project from a personal perspective is the fantastic team at the Abergwyngregyn Regeneration Company. Too many times I have seen paper partnerships. Working on a real project with a committed and skilled team (Gavin and Emlyn) delivers real outcomes. The award will accelerate this exciting hydro project and set the dye i hope for many more. Twh here we come