A new wind turbine will soon be clocking up green kWhs in Carmarthenshire thanks to Community Energy Wales (CEW). For the last 6 months, CEW have been working hard behind closed doors to save a wind turbine project that looked likely to fall victim to the Westminster Government’s cuts to the Feed in Tariff (FIT) support given to renewable energy.
The site, in West Carmarthenshire, was due to be built last year by a commercial developer, but because of the Government’s changes, the new deadlines meant that the turbine couldn’t be completed in time to claim the FIT. Community schemes are however allowed an extra six months before the accreditation runs out, meaning that if CEW took over the project, they could make it work financially as long as it was all built and exporting electricity into the National Grid before 7th August 2017.
Following a few months of complex legal, financial and commercial negotiations, construction began in May, and is well on schedule to commission before the FIT deadline in August. We are extremely grateful for the considerable assistance during this period from the Welsh Government (via Finance Wales) for providing construction bridging loans, from the turbine supplier, EWT, for flexibility and assistance with finance and from Energy Saving Trust for additional financial support.
The turbine is a 900kW EWT machine, and will be located near Meidrim. Anticipated generation is around 2100 MWh per year, enough to power 650 homes.
CEW is setting up a new Community Benefit Society , to be called YnNi Teg Cyf (Fair Energy Ltd) to own and operate the turbine. Following commissioning, YnNi Teg will provide opportunities for people to become part-owners of the project by investing in shares to refinance the loans from Finance Wales and from EWT. £1.8M will be raised in shares, and YnNi Teg will be able to offer a return of about 5%. Part of the income will be used to create a local community fund around the turbine site, and part to help fund CEW to continue supporting community energy groups throughout Wales into the future.
YnNi Teg is being set up with the intention of adding further renewable energy projects into the Society over time, with this turbine being the first exciting project.
Watch out for further updates in later CEW newsletters.
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