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‘Fund is big turn-off’

Households in Swansea which are forced to contribute green levies every year will be rewarded by just a few pounds from an energy company, according to a city councillor.

RWE npower Renewables, which is behind plans for the wind farm developmen at Mynydd y Gwair, has announced it will set-up a community investment fund, worth around £240,000, which will go towards local good causes.

Ioan Richard, councillor for Mawr ward said if the money was divided between every household within Swansea, it would work out at just £2.30 each.

He said: “npower must think we are all stupid in Swansea.

“You only need some simple arithmetic and a cheap calculator to work out that if npower is offering Swansea an annual community gain windfall of £240,000 per annum, between 104,000 households then it works out at just £2.30 per household per annum – which we are being told is a good return for handing over £112 per year in green levies.

“Of course the way the money moves around it is not quite as simple as that, but these are the precise figures.”

An RWE npower renewables spokesman said: “It’s misleading to make a calculation in this way and to try to show just one aspect of the economic impact of a wind farm like Mynydd y Gwair in isolation.

“Firstly, the green levy refers to a range of funds, most of which have nothing to do with onshore wind.

”In fact, latest figures show that onshore wind only accounts for just over £10 on each household energy bill.

“Second, the £240,000 annual community benefit fund is voluntary, delivered over the operational lifetime of the project, and would be bespoke to the local area.

”It could support priorities and initiatives most important to the communities closest to the wind farm, and be invested more widely to maximise these benefits.

”At the same time, this kind of funding would present a fantastic opportunity to match-fund other sources, such as funding from Europe – so is worth far more in the long run.

“Finally, an independent study into the economic impact of Mynydd y Gwair suggests that if fully consented, Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm could be responsible for up to 104 full time equivalent jobs on average during each year of its construction, and deliver £8.5million to the local economies of South and South West Wales.”