Devils in the hydro detail. The best gin in the world!

Chloe and Tania from the NT with the Adnams team. sharing both ways. i was accused of being arty with the image....

Chloe and Tania from the NT with the Adnams team. Sharing both ways. I was accused of being arty with the image….

I was out yesterday as part of a Fit for the Future network sharing session. Paul was showing and telling around the marine source heat pump in the morning and I was in Hafod y Llan in the afternoon talking hydro, biomass and other ‘stuff’. We were out with Chloe the energy behind the network and the also the green team from Adnams the brewers (also makers of the finest gin in the world.. see story). I was there to talk all things EV and generation. But also got so much back in terms of sustainability vision and waste management. (Adnams opperate a zero to landfill policy and also have one of the most sustainable breweries in the country. Same goes for their gin in terms of the amount of water used… I have something about the last one!) They learnt, we learnt! (the essence of the network!)

what do you think? wonder what another 20 months will do with this pipe. think i would be tempted to do a bit more turf removing and then draping on the pipe nest time. but the results speak for themselves. Going, going, still going!

what do you think? wonder what another 20 months will do with this pipe. Think i would be tempted to do a bit more turf removing and then draping on the pipe next time. But the results speak for themselves. Going, going, still going!

This was also my first chance to see how the Gorsen Hydro surface pipe was blending into the landscape after 20 months. I was blown away by what nature was doing with the pipe. It was disappearing into the undergrowth. This is what we had always hoped for and it was happening in front of our eyes. In terms of planning permission and our own standpoint on hydro pipes we usually go for a ‘bury’. But the location was full of trees and unknown archaeology and so we worked with the planners to go for a surface pipe with a vision it would be swallowed up by biodiversity… it has or should i say …is!

weir we go... Gorsen hydro intake

weir we go… Gorsen hydro intake 120m above the valley floor

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The true cost of renewable energy for us ‘hard-working’ people. Renewables in context

My life seems to be embroiled in the tumultuous changes in support mechanism on renewables at the moment. Change is good but you always need to know why and if this change is based on reducing our bills and saving money for the government (and therefore us) its good to see the bigger picture. I have borrowed this excellent piece from Regen SW. Make your own minds up

Renewables and Bills: The Facts

The recent wave of announcements of cuts to renewable energy support have been justified on the basis of cutting costs. The Office of Budget Responsibility calculated the cost of supporting low-carbon power by 2020/21 has risen from a budget of £7.6 billion to £9.1 billion and Policy Exchange and Green Alliance have joined the debate.

So what are the facts about our spend on renewables, impact on energy bills and how this compares with other sources of energy?


  • In 2014 renewable subsidies were responsible for £45 of the average £1,369 in 2014 family dual fuel bill (£36 ROCs and £9 FIT). Read more.
  • The current proposals to cut and cap spending on the FIT are predicted to reduce household bills by £6 in 2020/21. Read more.
  • The Committee on Climate Change recently concluded “the annual energy bill increased by 75 per cent in nominal terms from £650 in 2004 to £1,140 in 2013 for the typical dual-fuel household. Of the £490 increase, around 80 per cent was associated with rising costs of wholesale energy and system costs and therefore unrelated to low carbon policy.” Read more.


  • Globally, according to the International Monetary Fund, the fossil fuel sector receives subsidies of $5.3 trillion a year, more than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. Read more.
  • George Osborne, announcing tax breaks for shale gas in 2013, committed the government to making the tax regime “the most generous for shale in the world.” Read more.
  • The annual government grant to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is £2.09 billion. Divide that by 26.3 million households and you find that the average cost of dealing with nuclear waste is £79 per household. Read more

The government is offering:

  1. £92.50 per MWh to EDF as a guaranteed price for power generated by Hinkley C new nuclear power station for 35 years. Read more.
  2. £80 per MWh as a guaranteed price to large wind and solar projects for 15 years (following an auction this year). Read more
  3. £16.3 per MWh as a subsidy to households installing solar PV panels (households can also sell power at a set price of £48.50 per MWh).Read more.


  • The UK’s low carbon energy sector has delivered £42 billion worth of new investment over the past four years and is expected to deliver a further £100 billion by 2020. The sector now employs an estimated 112,000 people. Read more.
  • Investment in renewable energy in the UK is equivalent to the total growth in private sector investment over the last four years. Read more.
  • In the south west alone over £13 billion has been invested in the renewable energy sector, creating nearly 13,000 jobs and generating 14 per cent of the region’s electricity. Read more.

We all know we need to invest in the future of our energy supplies. The question is where to place that investment. That debate needs an honest assessment of the costs and benefits of different types of energy.

Kind regards,

Merlin Hyman

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National Trust Bodnant Garden will be growing energy this autumn.

One of the top Gardens in the UK is going lower carbon.  The largest energy budget at the internationally significant gardens at National Trust Bodnant is the use of electricity. As we have explained in previous blogs. When we have a lot of sunshine at National Trust properties we have a lot of visitors ergo we use a lot of electricity (catering especially) when said sunshine is out. Match made in haven for PV energy generation. The new system going in at Bodnant in early September has been sized to match the on site usage. Better value, less risk from FIT digression, no export issues (trading, tax, metering, invoicing and such like) and a big feel good factor. The on site meter shows a 50kw import load… we are installing a 50kw PV system on the site.

Alex has been working with Gareth from a local renewable energy company on the design and technology selection (Carbon Zero Renewables) The location for this sensitive instal is some 240m away in the away from it all overflow car park. A cable will then run down the footpath to Pavilion tea room (heaviest electricity user) this will also supply the visitor reception building in the garden. Work should be completed at the end of Sept. Big fans of PV for on site supply!

one of our drone images and photo montage imposed on the image. This is a rocky outcrop in the car park

One of our drone images and photo montage imposed on the image. This is a rocky outcrop in the upper over flow car park. 50kw ‘s of PV

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An Old Norse sea serpent and a low carbon cottage

something special and i call this work. Park Farm on the Great Orme

something special and I call this work. Park Farm on the Great Orme (click on the image to see a video of the site)

It was one of those “I have a nice job” moments again. I was on the Pen y Gogarth or the Great Orme as its also called towering above Llandudno. Or to be specific Park Farm on the great Orme. This is the latest National Trust property in N Wales. An Ecological and archeological masterpiece. I was there both to admire the stunning views but also to look at the cottage which came with property. The main reason for the acquisition of the property was for the ecological interest which are of international importance but getting off oil and seeing if we could generate energy for on-site use is not a bad idea as well! The cottage is a holiday cottage and we have moved immediately into LED lighting and its insulation next. But the cottage needs a bit more than this to get off its oil heating system. The options seem clear. Ground Source Heat Pumps is currently under consideration. But soil, rock, heat loss and cost will play a part. PV could be but this is grid and location dependant. As ever more to come

oh the sea serpent mention in the title. This is what the Orme bit stands for in Old Norse. The Vikings were here abouts

the cottage.. plans are a foot to decarbonise the holidays!

the cottage… plans are afoot to decarbonised the holidays!

and above the cottage is the summit building... v nice day and a decent cuppa!

and above the cottage is the summit building… v nice day and a decent cuppa!

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Wondering shells found in Criccieth. What do the tropics, MH370 and Criccieth have in common?

our wondering shells

our wandering shells

On my hols’ with the kids on the beach at Criccieth and they come over bringing their prize which is a plank of wood covered in shells. To qualify.. stinking and covered in shells. Gwyn my mate who is a good ecologist did not recognise the shells. A bit of digging by Gwyn and he found they’re were from across the atlantic and also lower down from tropic areas. The shells are  Lepas anatifera. Interestingly they are the same shells as were found on the wing section of the Airbus MH370 which washed up on Reunion Island. This really is a small world and species migration is only a plank of wood away!

the stinky plank. home to the shells for quite a while

the stinky plank. home to the shells for quite a while

Lepas anatifera has a cosmopolitan distribution and is found in tropical and subtropical seas worldwide. Because it is often attached to objects carried into colder seas by currents, such as theNorth Atlantic Drift, it is often found well away from its place of origin and in waters too cold for it to reproduce. In this way it has been recorded from Norway, the Shetland Islands, the Faeroe IslandsIceland and Spitsbergen.[3]

same shells. but the other side of the world on the wing section of the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 on Reunion Island

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I think we are going to need a bigger cabinet. (To paraphrase Richard Dreyphuss) – coming through thick and fast

It’s all about the team. ..and what a team! We have lots of teams like this across the NT delivering outstanding outcomes for renewables!

“Thick and fast” is not a reference to a new kind of cream maker but the sheer volume of awards the National Trust Renewable Energy Program people, projects and whole program are shortlisted for. It’s an honour. Lots of crossed fingers and best of luck to all the entries. We are amongst some incredible projects and people

Association of Project Managers

Project Management company of the year – National Trust Renewable Energy Investment Program

Renewables UK Wales – Green Energy Awards. shortlisted for

  • Outstanding project of the year. Hafod y Llan renewables demonstration farm
  • Energy advocacy team of the year. National Trust Wales
  • Developing the supply chain. National Trust Hydro

RAC Cooling Awards

  • Building project of the Year – Plas Newydd Marine Source Heat Pump
  • End User of the year – National Trust

Community Energy England

  • Community Energy England Champion Award. Keith Jones
  • Best of luck also to the Anafon community hydro who are also shortlisted for the collaboration award



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Royal Welsh Show and our “I have a stream session” Hydro enabling!

nothing beats leaning on a turbine! TGV hydro helping others scope their opportunities for hydro development!

Nothing beats leaning on a turbine! TGV hydro on the National Trust stand helping others scope their opportunities for hydro development! One of many many people there to help others understand the process of hydro development

It’s been a few blog free weeks whilst I have been in not so distant lands. I could hear the sigh of relief!  (I will give you a clue where I was . Wine, cheese and heavy into baguettes!). A few weeks ago the National Trust where are the Royal Welsh show helping others understand the how, where, who, which bits and so on of developing their own hydro. We were working with the Energy Now Renewable energy magazine who kindly supported us and ran an article on our renewables work and also hosted a very well attended session on hydro development in their marquee. Then we all piled back to the NT stand to meet developers, Consultants,  Turbine suppliers, the British Hydro Association, District Network Operators and Natural Resources Wales. (one stop shop for hydro development you might say) I got the impression that there are a lot of people who understanding the process  a little better and where to start (not that its ever simple!). All in all I feel there are many more people out there who are scratching their heads now whilst looking at their streams and rivers thinking “I wonder?’ Big thanks also to Emily from our external affairs team who turned the idea into a real and successful ‘thing’. Wonder if we could do the same next year on another technology?

thanks to Energy Now magazine for the support in making the "I have a stream sessions" a success. (ps Plas Newydd PV on the front cover!)

Thanks to Energy Now magazine for the support in making the “I have a stream sessions” a success. (ps Plas Newydd PV on the front cover!)

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