Anafon Community Hydro is now very very real. They start on Monday!

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 07.40.39Monday will see a small ceremony in the community of Abergwyngregyn to mark the start of building the Ananfon Community hydro. the £1m project has come about because of the dogged determination of a few people. As part of the project team I have been working with the community for a few years now and the hurdles, set back and pig headedness needed has been beyond anything i could have envisaged. Jacqui, Gavin and Hywel have driven this. Bloody well done them! We have set up a blog to follow the action (https://anafonhydro.wordpress.com/). The oldest and youngest person in the village will be cutting the first turf on Monday. 7 months later we should be generating an even more sustainable community!

This Is Abergwyngregyn’s actual turbine being manufactured as we speak!

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What have these two got in common? Hydro Turbine and brass polish?

thanks to Gilkes for some of the history of this Vortex turbine. More to come I'm sure

Thanks to Matthew Crosher at Gilkes for some of the history of this Vortex turbine. More to come I’m sure

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The kind people at Gilkes have sent me some detail behind the Pistyll Hydro I went to see last week o the National Trust property at Pistyll. The Hydro is actually older than I thought. It was delivered in 1903 and to a J.D Goddard. The Goddard of Goddard silver and brass polish. I now remembered that Richard had told me of the connection and that a relation of his who I think was a maid for the family would travel on the Goddard private train to Pwllheli before coming over to their electrically lit Plas Pistyll for holidays. The hydro is a relatively small 8kw and had a 55m drop from the intake at the Church pool down to the turbine building. See below. The Hidden Hydro is revealing itself!

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Egg now back in one piece after making the omelette. Hafod y Llan Hydro landscape after 18 months

John Howarth has kindly sent me these images of the landscape of the Hafod y Llan hydro after 18 months. The recolonisation of the landscape after such a short time shows what careful planning, contractor selection and the NT Rangers can do

Turbine building location before, during and after. settling in well!

Turbine building location before, during and after. settling in well! I was there last week and the larch cladding on the building is now silvering off nicely. 

the track behind the power house now looks better than it did before the work

The track behind the power house now looks good. the pipe is actually up on the left hand side of the image (not that you would know)

the middle section where we installed the large anchor block to hold the pipes in place. PS there is a large pipe under this!

The middle section where we installed the large anchor block to hold the pipes in place. PS there is a large pipe under this!

Higher up the and through the bracken. Honest we have a 600mm pipe buried here.

Higher up the and through the bracken. Honest we have a 660mm diameter pipe buried here.

High up in the catchment through Coed Rhyallt. the stone pile in the foreground is hiding the pipe vent (in case we get air in the pipe)

High up in the catchment through Coed Rhywallt. The stone pile in the foreground is hiding the pipe vent (in case we get air in the pipe)

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My Howard Carter moment… National Trust Wales have another hidden hydro and this one is on the coast.

The Plas Pistyll Turbine building. settling into its landscape!

The Plas Pistyll Turbine building. settling into its landscape! Feels like Cornwall again with the tin mines

I was in Llyn today dropping my daughter off at Plas Glyn y Weddw. From here I drove over the spine of the Llyn Peninsula to the small village of Pistyll. The National Trust have a small countryside property (again called Pistyll). I parked in the small NT car park and set off down the small lane to the church.

the wier pool for the hydro is still there if a little smaller after a 100 years of silt. The ancient Pistyll church in the background

The weir pool for the hydro is still there if a little smaller after a 100 years of silt. The ancient Pistyll church in the background

This walk was inspired by a quick chat with Paul Lewis the NT Llyn Area Ranger some 10 years earlier (can’t be accused of being rash!) and a follow on chat with Richard Neale around the same time. He mentioned the spectacle which was the electric lighting at the near by but very recently demolished Plas Pistyll (in the last 10 years). Paul mentioned that there were the remains of a hydro turbine building down the ravine almost on the nearby beach. 10 years later I was there on a mission to see what I could see. From the ‘ah ha’ moment of seeing the 6″ cast iron pipe exiting the weir and pool near the ancient church of Pistill I knew I was on to something. From the weir pool I walked passed the church and Maigret’s (Rupert Davies) grave and on down the track to NT Pistyll.  “Now where would you build a turbine building?”On the very near by coast? Down the steep hill? Following a lot of cast iron pipe? Could be? Plas Pistyll before the diggers moved in to level the site

The 1906 Gordon Gilbert Gilkes Vortex Turbine togther with what is left of the DC Dynamo casing in the foreground. Every piece of brass has been taken from the turbine.

The 1906 Gordon Gilbert Gilkes Vortex Turbine together with what is left of the DC Dynamo casing in the foreground. Every piece of brass has been taken from the turbine.

I saw the building and even from quite high-up I could see that turbine was still there but the stone building is on rather a jaunty angle. The coast here abouts is called an ‘active coast’ because it seems to want to flow into the sea. On reaching the building I saw that it contained the Rolls Royce of turbines. The hydro turbine is a 109 year old Gordon Gilbert Gilkes Vortex Hydro from Kendal. The date on the cast pipe is 1906 and turbine number is 1608. Gilkes are still manufacturing and they have helped out before with info on their turbines…lets see. Its been a good day and this really is one of the best Hidden Hydros I have seen to date.. Ancient Church, Ravine, Beach, Active Coast… Good ingredients.

The power house is now at a jaunty angle. Not long for this world!

The power house is now at a jaunty angle. Not long for this world!

 

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Beach charging – National Trust Electric Vehicle Chargers. Two weeks on!

Quick blog. Having a bit of a mooch Saturday around Llyn and popped into the National Trust Llanbedrog Car Park. As we said earlier ‘build it and they will come’ EV charge points do seem to attacked EV cars. Strange that!

But what a beach! Thanks again to Zero Carbon World for donating the chargers.

Nice to see our new charger being used for what is was designed for... going to the beach at Llanbedrog!

Nice to see our new charger being used for what is was designed for… going to the beach!

Have EV will travel! NT Llanbedrog beach huts in ar their multicoloured best

Have EV will travel! NT Llanbedrog beach huts at their multicoloured best and now accessible by electric vehicle!

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External insulation. Saver of energy or destroyer of old buildings. Serious homework

My village. rich in landscape, culture and people.

My village. rich in landscape, culture and people. Challenges with energy efficiency and being fit for the future

Well I am taking the plunge and going for a thermal jacket on my old house. I have what I would call a hybrid house. In 1870 a stone, lime and slate roofed farmhouse was built with 800mm thick walls, no foundation and lots and lots of chimneys next to an existing stone barn. In the 1980’s sometime the house was refurbished. DPC and new concrete floors, fair bit of structural work to the main elevation (large area of brick installed). It was re-rendered in Portland cement, new windows with cavities under them and so on. Mr Jones here moved in 2002. Collapsed stone barn was removed and extension built (cavity wall and the usual). Roof was insulated, windows repaired, boiler changed, PV installed and so on. But I have been sitting on the fence now for quite a few years. I have a plenty full supply of thermal images of all the heat leaving the house. what to do, what to do? I have now taken the plunge because of an opportunity. The nature of my mucked around with house means i can not return it to what once was because of a 100 years or so of mucking around. I now have to take this house forward into this century but also not create a problem for those following. Will my decision end up rotting the house from under me, create and unhealthy interior, compromise the aesthetics, create a maintenance problem 20 years down he road? This is where most of the housing stock in Wales is at? we are one of the most fuel poor nations in Europe and have one of the best stock (I mean best in aesthetic terms) housing. Cladding all this could be potential time bomb but fuel poverty is very real. I plan on installing RH monitors, use the real-time data from my smart meter, drill the wall and fit RH sensors deep in the wall especially in the attic to see what happens to my purlins.

The whole village is gearing up for an energy efficiency onslaught. I have been in discussion with Bangor University of undertaking a post occupancy assessment. Lets see!

The whole village is gearing up for an energy efficiency onslaught. I have been in discussion with Bangor University of undertaking a post occupancy assessment. Lets see!

The opportunity I mentioned is something called Arbed 2 which is Welsh government initiative for the most fuel poor areas to benefit from full funding for energy efficiency measures. Whole streets in the village are scaffolded, scores of boilers, windows, hot water systems are on order. The military like operation is gearing up for a frantic whole village change in the next few months… as usual several more blogs on this

i have been around looking at houses recently upgraded in the area?  Will the insulated house on the left create a damp problem for the one on the right because of the difference in thermal performance?

The village of  Carmel. I have been around looking at houses recently upgraded in my area? Will the insulated house on the left create a damp problem for the one on the right because of the difference in thermal performance on the join? The metal detailing under the gutter and sill extensions, what is the durability like? Will they be cheaper to heat?

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A low carbon sustainable lobster roll. PV and Wind powered cafe with one of the best views in the world. A first (we think!)

PV, Wind, Freshwater West and a lobster role. Whats not to like!

PV, Wind, Freshwater West and a lobster role. Whats not to like!

Thanks to Rebecca for this article –

Café Môr, operated by The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, have opted to generate power through wind and sun this year in order to reduce their carbon footprint. NCASS, the Nationwide Caterers Association has declared this to be the first one of its kind in the UK. The mobile cafe has been providing tasty local delicacies, such as SeaShore Wraps, to National Trust visitors at Freshwater West on the Stackpole Estate since the beginning of the season in 2013.

The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company received funding from the National Park to transform the beach trailer into an eco-friendly food to go outlet this spring. The noisy petrol generator has been replaced with a miniature wind turbine and solar panels which will charge the batteries on board. Because Café Môr provides high risk foods like shellfish and ice cream, and since the project is so new, the batteries will be plugged into the mains at night as back up until the level of energy produced daily by the sun and wind is properly known and calculated. It will be a learning experience but the end goal is for the trailer to run completely off grid. Jonathan will write a case study to release to the industry at the end of the season which hopefully will provide a template for others to use in the future.

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Whats not to like?

Jonathan Williams from the PBFC states: “Freshwater West is simply a beautiful wild beach in sunny Pembrokeshire on the Stackpole Estate, the location is a dream come true. However ever since I started trading there in 2013 I have always felt guilty rocking up in the morning and starting the generator up. In such a setting it is at complete odds with its natural surroundings, I have tried to use the new generation of “silent” generators which turn out not to be that silent. As well as the noise, there was the constant lifting the generator in and out of the trailer, the oil and petrol leaks and the occasional non start days, surely there has got to be a better way of producing power”. Now the installation has been completed by Pembrokeshire Power Jonathan is keen to open and unveil the changes.

stunning food, stunning place... and now much quieter thanks to some PV and the energy from the wind

stunning food, stunning place… and now much quieter thanks to some PV and the energy from the wind

Rebecca Stock, Outdoor Enterprises Manager said: “In terms of the way we work with catering partners in the outdoors, Pembrokeshire Beach Food company are trialling an exemplar environmentally sustainable approach which, if proved successful, could be a target that we set when working with other catering concessions across Wales”.

In keeping with the ‘green’ theme, Café Môr’s successful litter picking incentive which ran last year will be back. Customers will receive a hot drink or an ice cream in exchange for one carrier bag of rubbish collected off Freshwater West beach.

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