I’m an environmental consultant with 25 years’ experience with a background in project management, agriculture, environmental monitoring & assessment and renewable energy. I started working on renewable energy in 2010 and have particular expertise in site assessment & feasibility for wind and solar PV and good knowledge of the planning process for most renewable energy technologies. I’ve been involved in project construction and commissioning for wind schemes. In 2018 I set up my own business to provide environmental and renewable energy services and I’m keen to try and support the development of community energy projects in Mid Wales. I’m a director of the Grannell Community energy project, a 500kW wind project near Lampeter and a long term volunteer and Trustee of the Shared Earth Trust (SET). SET has a 40 acre site (Denmark Farm) also near Lampeter through which it promotes an awareness of sustainability and a connection with nature. It also provides volunteering opportunities and training courses in ecology, conservation and natural crafts for the local community and visitors from further afield. SET has a range of renewable energy systems including Solar PV, Solar Thermal and a biomass mini-district heating system which I help to look after.
Why are you drawn to this area of work and/or how have you helped community groups take their first steps to action in the past?
I believe that energy should be generated and consumed locally and that communities should be able to benefit from the income that this generates. Having spent eight years working on commercial renewable energy projects for large developers and investors I felt I wanted to use this knowledge to try and develop schemes that would provide income at a local level.
In 2017 I was asked to attend an event organised by Pweru’r Dyffryn to explore the potential for a community energy scheme in the Aeron Valley. I was part of a panel of experts that was able to provide information and advice to the community group on which types of projects might be feasible within the area. At that event I was approached by a director of the Grannell Community Energy scheme and asked if I would be interested in becoming involved in their project to develop a 500kW community wind turbine near Lampeter. I joined in November 2017 and we are expecting to have the project completed by the end of 2019. With the urgent need to address climate change I want to try and use my knowledge and experience to develop local energy schemes across Wales.
What is your vision of your region in 2050? What will have changed and how will we have got there?
Catastrophic climate change, the loss of biodiversity & plastic pollution of the oceans will have been stopped & steps taken to reverse the damage caused. Our environment is being sympathetically managed for all species while supporting a profitable farming industry. Energy is being generated and consumed much more locally and the electricity grid will have been upgraded to allow the rapid uptake of electric vehicles across all rural area. Change will be driven by grass roots activity demanding governments act on climate change and threats to the environment. Communities will be stronger, more vibrant, economically resilient and living more sustainably.