Page last updated on 16/12/2011
We have a proud heritage in Wales of producing energy for the world. The Coal Exchange in Cardiff was famously the place where the first £1 million cheque was written by the US Navy for Welsh steam coal.
But King Coal is dead, and we are struggling to find affordable oil supplies. There are monumental environmental consequences looming due to our reliance on fossil fuels for over a hundred years. During which time we’ve released millions of years’ worth of stored Carbon into our fragile atmosphere.
A survey of happiness has been ongoing in the USA for most of this time. It revealed that people were happiest in 1956. Even though we’re five times as wealthy today as we were then! The main reason for our relative dissatisfaction seemingly is our lack of belonging to a Community. Our electronic devices have left us isolated.
The energy crisis can be seen as a chance to reinvigorate our Communities.
Instead of large multinationals dictating terms, as in the days of open cast coal mines, and the clumsy advances of the wind turbine utilities. Communities could take the lead in localising ownership of energy and food production. A large wind turbine will be easier to tolerate if it’s funding prosperity in the locality.
We can form fuel clubs to save 10% directly on bills. These clubs can start conversations about insulating households and eradicating Fuel Poverty. The NEA in Wales estimate 390,000 properties in Wales are defined as struggling badly with energy bills. We need to organise and protect against future energy hikes.
There are already many great examples in Wales. Talybont-on-Usk is earning large sums of money from hydro and solar energy. It has used this money to strengthen all aspects of Community life. It seems to be the epitome of a thriving happy village.
Using money from renewable energy to fund insulation, food production, a cinema, a post office, village halls, societies, Pilates classes, kick boxing and celebrations is surely the way forward.
It seems oil isn’t making us happy. Strengthening Communities surely will.
Menter Cwm Gwendaeth are actively promoting these ideas. Please contact us if support is required.