A COMMUNITY group from North Pembrokeshire is finally set to install a 700kW wind turbine at Trefawr Farm in Llanfyrnach after a long and bumpy journey.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy - a community benefit society run by local residents and based at Hermon Community Resource Centre near Crymych - will be very relieved to see the community wind turbine installed by the beginning of October for a project that has been 10 years in the making.

The project received planning permission from Welsh Government in 2016 for the 61-metre high wind turbine, which is set to generate more than 2,000 MWh every year - that’s enough electricity to power around 500 homes each year.

Although the electricity grid technology doesn’t allow the wind turbine to power local homes directly, all the profits gained from selling the electricity will be paid into a community fund, which will be distributed to local community projects, businesses and individuals for activities which benefit local people and the environment.

“We’ve worked really hard for over a decade to make this project happen” said Cwm Arian director Holly Cross, “and it hasn’t been easy, but we’ve been determined to see it through because it’s just such a good idea to make money for the community from clean energy.”

The group has been supported with advice and development funding from the Welsh Government Energy Service, and in May this year was offered a low interest loan from Development Bank of Wales to enable it to buy and install the wind turbine.

It is due to be delivered and installed on October 9 and after a few weeks of tests and checks, will start generating electricity - and money.

Daniel Blackburn, who is also a director of Cwm Arian and part of the small team of locals working hard to realise the project, is hoping for a windy winter.

He said: “We’ve heard from the pioneers of Welsh community renewable projects like Transition Bro Gwaun and Awel Aman Tawe that their community wind turbines have generated quite a lot more income than they had expected, so we’re hoping it’ll be the same for our community”.

The project will be opening a community share offer in 2020, and is benefiting from the chairman Cris Tomos’ experience of setting up successful community share offers that have helped people take ownership of their assets across the county.

“We’re looking forward to inviting local people to become members of Cwm Arian and invest in the renewable energy scheme,” he said:

“Even a small investment will earn them a better interest rate on their savings than if they keep their money in the bank, and will also help Cwm Arian pay back the bank loan sooner so the community fund will grow quicker - it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

To find out more about Cwm Arian Renewable Energy’s wind turbine project, and keep up to date about the community share offer and the other sustainability projects running in North Pembrokeshire, visit cwmarian.org.uk or email holly@cwmarian.org.uk