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Bro Dyfi Community Wind

Bulb has been buying power from Bro Dyfi Community Renewables since 2018. Their two wind turbines in Machynlleth, Wales are affectionately known as Vicky and Nora. We think it’s important you know where your energy comes from, so we took a trip to Wales to meet Vicky and Nora in person, and find out more about the origins of this renewable energy company. John Williams, a founding member of the team, was our guide for the day.

The first community funded turbines in Wales

In 2000 the Centre for Alternative Technology, an educational charity in Powys, Wales, came up with the idea to power their own buildings with renewable energy. They built a small wind turbine, which sadly broke after a few years. 

But some locals were keen to see more renewable projects in the area. So they started small – each one chipped in £20 to pay for some research. They wanted to gauge how big the appetite was to replace the broken turbine. The appetite was even bigger than they expected, and so together they set up a new company, Bro Dyfi Community Renewables. And they bought Vicky, their first turbine.

Local children painted the base of Vicky the turbine at the launch party

Such a hit, they built another one

The turbine is named after Vicky Leaney who pioneered the project. It’s a second-hand turbine, to keep costs low. Buying second hand meant the team could buy a bigger turbine for the money they’d raised. It also lowers the project's carbon impact, because there’s no new manufacturing involved.

To celebrate the launch, they held a party on Vicky’s hill. And with the help of a local artist, children drew paintings on the base of the turbine. The catchphrase ‘People Power’ was etched permanently in multicolour – in Welsh, of course.

The first turbine was a real success. The team at Bro Dyfi were overwhelmed with the response from the local community, who wanted to invest more in renewables. So they set about raising funds to build a second, much bigger turbine. A decade after Vicky was launched, Nora started turning wind into clean power. 

Nora: Vicky’s bigger, younger sister

Paying it forward

Some of the profit made from the two turbines is paid directly to the local investors who helped make it happen. This includes a community fund, which is used to implement sustainability initiatives in the local area, like switching to LED light bulbs and promoting organic farming.

Bro Dyfi recently sent a survey to their investors asking if they’re keen to do more renewable projects in the area, and 95% of them said yes. We may not know exactly what the future looks like for this corner of Wales, but it’s definitely green.

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