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Former Plaid Cymru leader’s lead role in Welsh community energy organisation

08 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Leanne Wood, picture by David Ho. Ben Ferguson, picture by Delyth Higgins.

Former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and west Wales renewable energy specialist Ben Ferguson have been appointed as new directors of a Welsh community energy group.

Leanne and Ben are charged with steering Community Energy Wales (CEW) to help realise its vision of a green energy system that puts people first.

“There is simply nothing more important than responding to the climate emergency,” said Leanne.

“We have to end our addiction to fossil fuels, and ensuring that communities stay in control of the energy they generate is an essential part of the solution. 

“CEW are a great team, with a sound values base ethos and big ambition. I can’t wait to get started.”

Democratising access

Ben Ferguson served as a founding member and director of Carmarthenshire’s Ynni Sir Gar project – delivering the county’s first ever community-owned wind turbine – and Community Energy in Pembrokeshire. 

“Community renewable energy projects offer a great opportunity to democratise access to low carbon power at reliable prices, at a time when the failures of our current system have never been clearer,” said Ben.

“In response to the Welsh Government’s growing support, these ideas are beginning to flourish – and we look forward to working with all comers to realise the true power of locally owned and controlled energy in Wales.”

People cleaning hydro screens at Ynni Ogwen hydroelectricity plant in Bethesda, picture: Nick Pipe. Right: a community-owned turbine set up by Community Energy Pembrokeshire, picture: Community Energy Wales

Leanne and Ben are excited to build on what has already been achieved by outgoing leader Rob Proctor, working on new opportunities to increase community-owned renewable energy in Wales, along with green transport schemes that will save people money while also helping to cut emissions.

This includes CEW’s car clubs, which will allow communities to share a stock of electric vehicles instead of running individual private cars on fossil fuels.

It is hoped the initiative will significantly reduce carbon emissions across Wales, provide more transport and connection opportunities for those without cars, and help families on lower incomes to get around cheaply.

Research by shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) on average across Britain each car club vehicle results in 18.5 private cars being replaced.

CEW was set up in 2012 to provide assistance and a voice to community organisations working on energy projects in Wales.

The organisation is a network of 52 members, including Awel Aman Tawe, which is developing Hwb y Gors, a low carbon hub at Cwmgors, and which set up the largest solar energy cooperative in Wales, Egni.

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David Smith
David Smith
1 year ago

Crucial that member owned and controlled co-operative energy companies are rooted in their respective communities. Scale and local accountability are equally important.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

This is the stuff!…

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
1 year ago

I am very pleased to see she is involved in this, she is a very talented person. Still confident of great things from her.

Ken Davies
1 year ago

Looks like the way ahead. Could people be enabled to scrap their petrol/ diesel vehicle to invest in enterprise and access use of communally owned electric vehicles? 🦡

Dr Jonathan F Dean
Dr Jonathan F Dean
13 minutes ago

“ensuring that communities stay in control of the energy they generate”

That is directly the opposite of the current Welsh Government policies I’m afraid. They will have a tough time

I hope they are campaigning to get the dreadful Future Wales renewable energy policies changed

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