Andy Bull, a Welsh renewable energy pioneer and sustainability campaigner, has received international acclaim this week by winning the Roger Léron Award in Brussels for his outstanding contribution to sustainable energy. The award is recognition of Bull’s lifelong commitment to championing renewable energy in the country; putting Wales firmly on the map as a world leader in sustainability.
From humble beginnings as a Planning Officer with local authorities across Wales, Andy Bull diligently worked to introduce the radical concept of local renewable energy in a country where the coal industry was thriving. There was no active policy on renewables or energy efficiency in the 1980s, or much understanding of the language of sustainability at all. But it was in this environment that Bull’s pioneering spirit sought to challenge the status quo and picture the Wales of the future.
By initiating ground-breaking projects that tackled domestic fuel poverty, established community benefit funds from wind power, kick-started economic growth in the renewables sector and founded community energy pilots, Andy soon became synonymous for firsts. Leading by example, he was the first person in the UK to install a wood pellet boiler. Scaling this up he led the first biomass heating project in Wales, and seeing that farm waste was a growing concern across the country, Andy saw the potential for on-farm anaerobic digestion – spending the last ten years promoting biogas and influencing policy at local and national levels through his work with Severn Wye Energy Agency.
One of Andy’s most significant contributions to Welsh sustainability has been his close relationship with the Welsh Government – drafting high-impact policies around Planning for Renewable Energy, and featuring as one of the first signatories on the Sustainable Development Charter, the learning from which fed into the Wellbeing of Future Generation Act, identified as world leading by the UN.
Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, gave her reaction to the announcement:
“It is always a special moment for Wales to be recognised across the world for our pioneering work in renewable energy, which plays such an important role in global sustainability. As a nation we are hugely grateful for the passion and hard work that individuals like Andy have put in over many years in order to help secure the future of Wales, so this award comes as a fitting tribute to the lasting impact he has made.”
The award, conferred on Wednesday 10 October in Brussels by FEDARENE — an association of local and regional European energy agencies — recognises Bull’s lifelong commitment to championing renewable energy in Europe through his 30-year career serving Wales.