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Renewable energy: community and commercial

Renewable energy: community and commercial

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In this webinar, commercial renewable energy expert Bethan Edwards and community energy expert Rod Edwards will join forces to offer insights from the ground on how we can power a Zero Carbon Britain. 

The recording was made 5 May 2021 at the time of the live webinar.

Community energy and commercial renewables

Our Zero Carbon Britain research shows that we need to power down our energy usage and power up renewable energy supply to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. In this webinar, we bring together two experts working to power up renewables in both community energy and larger-scale commercial projects.

Onshore wind farm developer and CAT Masters student, Bethan Edwards, looks into the world of commercial renewable energy and how it is responding to the push for local ownership. Presenting case studies from Wales and beyond, Bethan looks at everything from the impact of policy positions to standard industry practice around community investment and how commercial renewable energy is helping the UK meet its renewable energy targets.

Engineer Rod Edwards presents a short case study of Bro Dyfi Community Renewables, one of the UK’s oldest community-owned renewable energy enterprises. Drawing on his 40 years in the renewable energy industry, he outlines some of the legal structures commonly used for community energy projects such as cooperatives, community benefit companies and community interest companies.



Meet the Speakers

Bethan Edwards

Bethan Edwards is an onshore wind farm developer with 17 years’ experience working across England, Scotland and primarily Wales. She was the development project manager of the 28 turbine Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm in Carmarthenshire, the first Welsh project to gain consent via the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime. Brechfa commenced operation in 2018 and its community investment fund has recently reached a significant milestone – exceeding £1million of grants benefiting the local area.

In recent years, Bethan has become a Trustee for Awel Aman Tawe (AAT), a community renewable energy charity in South Wales. AAT has two associated cooperatives: Awel, which operates two large wind turbines, and Egni which develops rooftop solar schemes across Wales. 

Bethan’s active interest in renewables started as a student, campaigning for an offshore wind farm near her home town, and she now finds herself as a student again, studying for an MSc in Sustainability and Adaptation Planning at CAT.

Rod Edwards

Rod Edwards has a background in engineering, and has worked in the renewable energy industry for over 40 years. His early experience was in training and technology transfer for community scale small hydro which he worked extensively on in Latin America and Asia.

In the early nineties he joined worker owned specialist renewable energy company, Dulas Ltd, in Machynlleth near CAT. He continued working in small hydro, but with the growth of wind energy in the UK helped to establish a multi discipline team specialising in the development of wind farms in the UK, and worked on projects amounting to over 400MW of installed capacity.

His 21 years experience at Dulas encompassed not only the engineering aspects of renewable energy, but also the economic, commercial, regulatory and policy formulation aspects. In addition, he gained considerable experience in the establishment of community owned and operated renewable energy projects.

Since his retirement in 2013, Rod has retained his links to the industry, mainly through involvement with Bro Dyfi Community Renewables, a community owned wind project, where he is currently Chair, and occasional lecturing at CAT.

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