Plaid leader urges Caerphilly council chiefs to look at erecting wind turbines using reserves

20/05/2019

Plaid Cymru leader Colin Mann has called on Caerphilly council to investigate installing its own wind turbine to cut energy bills at its Ty Penallta headquarters and thereby slash carbon dioxide emissions.

Councillor Colin Mann has written to authority leader David Poole and chief executive, Christina Harrhy urging them to order a feasibility study. He says funding for the turbine project could come from the council’s reserves which are more than £100m.

His appeal for action comes ahead of a Labour motion on climate change which will be debated at next month’s full council meeting, which Plaid will be supporting.

Councillor Colin Mann said: “If Labour is serious about the climate change motion they need to back it up with practical action.  This is a genuine Invest to Save project which also contributes to the climate change agenda.  There is also a huge potential to save money on energy.  The extra resources could then be invested into community services rather than the cutting we have been seeing.” 

Councillor Colin Mann points to the success of a wind farm co-operative, Awel which installed  community wind turbines above Pontardawe.  They have been in existence for several years. Its sister organisation Egni is involved in the biggest roll out of rooftop solar ever in Wales. By the end of 2018 its  seven existing sites had generated 504,688 kWh, saving over 180 tonnes of carbon.

Councillor Colin Mann said “I’ve been advised by Awel that set-up costs, including a feasibility study, would be around £150,000, although grant aid might be available. Building a wind turbine would cost about £1.3m but would generate annual electricity sales of £120,000.

“With the impact of climate change rising to the top of the political agenda, launching a wind farm offers a fantastic opportunity for Caerphilly council to be at the forefront of the green energy revolution. This wind turbine could power the council’s headquarters.

“My ward colleague Rob Gough raised this issue last year but the council has yet to take up the idea to generate its own electricity. The council now has to back up its climate change motion with action.

“Council officials have already warned that charges for supplying our electricity were going to increase substantially and keep rising over the years. A feasibility study is needed to progress this worthwhile initiative.”  

The motion to council proposes declaring a climate emergency, commits to making the council a net zero carbon local authority by 2030, developing a clear energy plan for a route towards being net carbon and working with other public sector partners to deliver carbon savings and take advantage of the wider benefits of a  green economy.