A €5.4m EU-backed initiative to help drive forward local community energy schemes has been announced today by Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford.
The Green Valleys, a community interest company based in the Brecon Beacons, is a key project partner in the ECCO project which aims to create five new community owned energy schemes in Wales by 2020.
Working in collaboration with eleven North West European partners the project is working to create a strong network of community energy cooperatives and inspire and enable continued growth of the community energy sector.
The project is backed by €3.2m of EU funds through the North West Europe transnational programme, with Wales set to benefit from €273,000 of EU funds and an additional £156,000 investment from the Welsh Government.
Welsh third sector organisations Datblygu Egni Gwledig and Community Energy Wales are also involved in the project and are set to benefit from the expertise of countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, who for over a decade have been pioneers in the community renewable energy sector.
Professor Drakeford said:
“This project will bring together expertise from across Europe, sharing the same opportunities, challenges and resources. I’m delighted to see EU funding supporting this collaboration to help develop a strong and sustainable community energy sector in Wales.”
“The benefits of building friendships and partnerships to address common global challenges and opportunities are clear to see, which is why it is also very important for Wales to participate in such EU co-operation programmes after the UK leaves the European Union.”
Gareth Ellis, Community Projects Manager, The Green Valleys said:
“We are on the cusp of significant future changes to the way our energy is generated and supplied. These changes create opportunities for communities across Wales to own and benefit directly from future energy projects. The ECCO project will allow us to work with partners across North West Europe to share learning, financing models and community led approaches to the development of new energy generation. ”