Gareth is a Chartered Engineer who has worked with renewable energy for around fifteen years. He has been involved with a number of community energy projects and is experienced at all stages of project development. Gareth is a director of renewable energy developer Seren Energy Ltd, chair of Swansea Community Energy and Enterprise Scheme (SCEES) and works at Carmarthenshire Energy as Electric Vehicle Chargepoint Coordinator. Carmarthenshire Energy is a Community Benefit Society, working with communities to reduce energy costs, tackle fuel poverty, generate clean renewable energy, and keep the profits local. They own a 500kW wind turbine funded by a community share offer and have arranged installation of smaller scale PV schemes in the area. Other initiatives they are involved in included trial Energy Local sites in Carmarthenshire where local residents can buy electricity directly from a community owned renewable energy scheme, and working with Local Authorities and other organisations in the region on the strategic deployment of chargepoints and increasing electric vehicle use.
Why are you drawn to this area of work and how have you helped community groups take their first steps to action in the past?
Climate change is considered by many to be the most important issue facing our planet today and a large scientific consensus supports this view. Everybody has a part to play in tackling it, including communities getting involved and driving local initiatives forward. Locally owned and driven projects also tend to have more tangible benefits to the surrounding area then other schemes, as well as educating people on the importance of mitigating climate change and enthusing them to take action.
Gareth has acted as both a consultant and developer during his career, with many of the projects he has worked on being community energy schemes. He has experience at all stages of renewable energy development, from the initial site selection and assessment to installation and operation. He is well placed to advise groups developing their renewable energy projects and helping them to move efficiently through each part of the process.
Gareth is also experienced in community engagement, and has organised and attended many community liaison events to provide information about developments to local residents. He has spoken about community and renewable energy to a range of audiences, and is well placed to train and inform others on renewable energy.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
Historically in Wales the bulk of the profits from energy generation have usually gone to rich investors based elsewhere. I’d love to see more communities owning their own renewable energy generators, bringing in an income from locally produced renewable energy, and in many cases making savings on their energy bills by being directly supplied by the generators. There will be a massive increase in use of electric vehicles by 2050, and I’m keen to see community owned electric car clubs as a significant part of that, tying in with renewable energy where possible.