Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company, has started recruitment for board members who will manage Wales's largest community energy fund.
Following extensive engagement with local people about the best use for the £1.8mn a year Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund, the developer is looking to recruit six to eight paid part time Board Members ahead of first fund payments being made towards the end of 2016. The deadline for applications to become a Board Member is 23 October.
Alistair Hinton, Vattenfall's Senior Construction Manager, for the Pen y Cymoedd wind energy project, said: "We want the Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund to be the best wind farm fund in the UK. The community has already established a clear agenda for the fund but to implement it requires local people who know what the community needs. Board Members on the fund can be part of something really special for the upper Afan, Cynon, Neath and Rhondda valleys, that's why we hope we'll get a good response to the adverts."
David Rees, the Assembly Member for Aberavon, said: "As we approach the completion of the project it's important that we see strong leadership in managing the community fund from a board made up of local people with the expertise and skills to deliver the right schemes for our communities. I call on these people to step forward and help the people of the upper Afan, Neath Valley, Rhondda and Cynon achieve the full benefit from the funds."
Derek Stephen, the Energy Delivery Programme Manager for Natural Resources Wales, who manage the forested estate where Pen y Cymoedd is located on behalf of the Welsh Government said: "Wind and renewable resources are important natural assets for Wales. We are supporting energy companies like Vattenfall, who are developing projects on our estate that will contribute to Wales' and the UK's energy needs. These projects also contribute to green growth in Wales, habitat restoration projects as well as community funds."
The local community and organisations have worked hard to set the agenda for the Community Fund, to ensure it supports them to bring lasting benefits to the area. Their vision is published in the Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund Prospectus, a guide for potential applicants. Many groups, social enterprises, charities, third sector organisations and companies recognise long-term funds such as this one represent a rare and significant opportunity and are gearing up to apply. A video has been posted on our site to suggest first steps that applicants can take to prepare themselves.
The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by early 2017. The 76 turbine, 228MW scheme will pay £1.8mn a year (index linked) into the Community Fund for the operational lifetime of the wind farm. Over the 20 to 25 year lifetime of the scheme, the fund will earn more than £60mn from the wind farm and with match funding the total available for investment would be considerably higher.