Ynni Cymunedol Cymru

State of the Sector 2021

Community Energy Groups Raised £4 million in shares over the last year, showing the belief of Welsh people in this vibrant sector and its future.

The first ever State of the Sector in Wales Report from Community Energy Wales, supported by the Welsh Government states that community energy is a vital and trusted mediator in the transition to net-zero. Community energy groups have reached nearly 100,000 people in the last year, proving that the sector is on the front line when it comes to climate change. In the year of COP 26, gaining engagement from communities and ordinary people in the transition to net zero, and ensuring that transition is fair to the people of Wales is crucial.

Dan McCallum, director of Egni Co-op – a community energy group that has installed rooftop solar on schools and village halls as well as the Geraint Thomas Velodrome in Newport said “The history of Wales is tied to energy. We know the legacy that extractive heavy industry has left in our post-industrial communities. Community energy is about retaining the benefit locally, through clean green energy”.

This year marks the first ever standalone Welsh State of the Sector Report, giving community energy groups and other stakeholders a chance to discuss the sector in a Welsh context for the first time. The co-operative spirit of Wales is to be seen in the sector, with Wales holding the highest number of community energy groups per person in the UK – 60 in total were identified in the report.

4.2 MW of community energy was installed this year, and in a year that saw great difficulties for many communities, energy groups decided to give £20,000 in COVID-19 relief, money that went to purchasing PPE and food for those in need. In total £250,000 was distributed as community benefit funds to Welsh communities this year.

Robert Proctor, Business Development Manager at Community Energy Wales said “It’s great to see the people of Wales showing their interest in the sector, raising 4 million through share offers is a real vote of confidence. Though the sector has seen it’s challenges with the end of the feed-in-tariff in recent years we are proud that community energy is proving to be resilient”.

The removal of support for small scale renewable energy by the UK Government has made it much more challenging to deliver community energy projects in Wales and the UK. In Wales however, we have the opportunity to do things differently and ensure that Welsh people are at the heart of our transition to zero carbon and most importantly that they benefit from this transition as we aim to retain the wealth created through this transition in our communities.

The sector is now adapting to the end of the tariff by scaling up their projects. YnNi Teg, a community-owned professional development service for community energy is busy developing what would be the largest solar farm in the UK, and there is a total of 54MW of community energy generation still in the pipeline to be developed.

If you would like to read the report please click here: Wales SOTS 2021

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