Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Mid Wales' fuel poverty fighters

Llanafan Fawr Community Centre and its solar electric panels
EU funding is being used to assist community groups in mid Wales

Gloucestershire-based Severn Wye Energy Agency (SWEA), took the decision to "move upstream" and establish a new office in Builth Wells in May 2007. Andy Bull, SWEA's senior project manager, told us more about the agency's work in mid Wales.

The agency had been established by the Forest of Dean Council in 1999 with support from the European Union SAVE programme and the Rural Development Commission.

It had already developed a substantial portfolio of activities and partnerships in Gloucestershire and surrounding areas, as well as collaborating in regional, national and European projects.

The agency, which is a non-profit company and charity, is in the business of promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as looking for solutions to fuel poverty.

We believe that we have a lot to offer and can assist Wales in its aspiration to lead the way in running a low carbon economy
Andy Bull

Building and drawing upon the extensive experience "across the border" the new team in mid Wales set about seeking projects and contracts that would enable further progress on these issues to be made here.

One of our early successes came when Glasu (The EU-funded rural regeneration body for Powys) offered SWEA the opportunity to deliver the "Energy for Sustainable Communities" project.

On a short time-scale our task was to find community organisations that wanted to undertake sustainable energy projects and help them through the processes.

Using a combination of EU "Objective 2" funds and the UK Government's Low Carbon Building Programme, this project saw solar thermal and solar electric projects installed at a number of community centres and the like.

Technology

There were also energy efficiency schemes, wind-power schemes and feasibility studies completed.

Biogas study tour to Vienna.
Biogas Regions seeks to promote anaerobic digestion technology

A strong working relationship has been established with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) in Wales and SWEA has been undertaking work on its behalf across the whole of mid, south and west Wales over the last year or so.

SWEA has also been working with local authorities and communities on behalf of the EST.

EU funded "Intelligent Energy for Europe" projects are important aspects of the work of the mid Wales office.

One of these, "Biogas Regions", seeks to promote anaerobic digestion and is currently providing assistance to a number of people/farms in mid Wales that are looking at the technology.

The project seeks to use the knowledge and experience of German and Austrian partners to the benefit of the fledgling industry in the UK.

SWEA led a study tour of 15 participants from this part of the world to Austria earlier in the year.

Expertise

EU funding, this time via the Rural Development Plan, is being used to assist community groups in Talgarth, Rhayader and Llanidloes to deliver carbon savings and generate their own renewable energy through the "Low Carbon Communities - Powys" project.

This project is well underway and will run through the whole of next year.

We believe that we have a lot to offer and can assist Wales in its aspiration to lead the way in running a low-carbon economy whilst generating jobs and genuine prosperity.

SWEA does not receive funding merely to exist , everything we do is delivered against targets and outputs and our income relies upon us delivering the results that our funders require.

We are proud to part of a growing centre of expertise here in mid Wales and look forward to employing more people to deliver this vital service.




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