Community energy flying or should I say digging in

Me and mini me have been around this week looking at progress. Tryfan likes looking at hydros... I hope!

Me and mini me have been around this week looking at progress. Tryfan likes looking at hydros… I hope! This is the compensation weir for the Ogwen hydro. Main screen and forbay tank further to the right. 

It’s been a mad few months on community energy in this part of Wales. I am one of the founding directors of the first end to end community energy supply companies in UK and the smart meters are being installed in Bethesda as I type (well no, its a bit late tonight) Welsh Government have just awarded a further £90k for the continued development of the end to end supply approach with Energy Local. We are in negotiation to establish a PHd student to look at the true benefit side of community energy (more than money and more than a year in duration) We have submitted our Big lottery bid following the success of the EOi to direct employ a small team to further develop the community energy networks ambitions and the list goes on in terms of work… new offices, hydro feasibilities (multiple) and so on

The Afon Goch community hydro high head system pipe being moddeled y Tryfan again. all the pipes up and welded on the mountain above Llanberis

The Afon Goch community hydro high head system pipes being modeled by a Tryfan again. The 760 meters  of pipes up and welded on the mountain above Llanberis

On a more bricks and mortar side. We are mid build on two community hydros. looks like both will finish together bar a few weeks (end of the year). cross fingers no issues to date. the Llanberis pipe route is a good week or so ahead of schedule and Ogwen is a week or so finishing in the river with the abstraction point

Turf, topsoil, trench and a Tryfan. Exemplar digging and soil segregation. Both hydros employing local civil engineers

Turf, topsoil, trench and a Tryfan. Exemplar digging and soil segregation. Both hydros employing local civil engineers

Friday saw the community energy Wales conference which was held in the centre of the community energy world. Namely Bethesda. We were looking at new models and what’s to come. I presented on a new heat model I have been working on for domestic dwellings. It was the day of energy local, Ynni Ogwen and Cyd Ynni. Oh I am now also a director of Community Energy Wales. An honour and a good challenge to get my teeth into. Heros working for the organisation but the challenges are also huge.

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Penrhyn Castle biomass. Hotting up and bye bye oil

the new building buries in the woods of the carpark (near the half acre of PV)

The new building buried in the woods of the car park (near the half-acre of PV). The building will be clad in larch that the rangers have milled in the Penrhyn Castle woods

I had a few minutes spare today and so popped over to have a look at how our new Penrhyn Castle biomass is progressing. The new building has a roof. Waiting for the PV system in a few weeks for said roof (powering the hot water pumps). The twin 150kw woodchip boilers have arrived along with the buffer tanks. Augers looking symmetrical and are sitting there ready to be installed. Overall the project is progressing well. It’s just a pity you don’t get to see all the plumbing which has gone into the castle to make sure we make the most use of this new heat. Pipes in roof voids, spaces behind panels and through cellars and so on. Stunning pipe work (I know i get worked up with pipes but what the hey!) The reason i am quite passionate about this site is that Penrhyn is the last major site the National Trust has in Wales on oil heating and its about to be an ex-oil site. Quite a shift in the last five years. We are now working on the rest of the smaller sites

the boys are in. twin 150kw froling wood chip boilers. a delight in red. we are liaving a space in the building for something really special to come. will say in Octobre but it will be a first!

The boys are in. Twin 150kw froling wood chip boilers. A delight in red. We are leaving a space in the building for something really special to come. Will say in October but it will be a first!

we will have multiple augers in the building. artistic or what?

We have multiple augers in the building. artistic or what?

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Community energy awards 2016… we won!

IMG_3392Last night in Oxford the National Trust Wales initiated and supported network “Cyd Ynni” was honoured by being awarded the collaboration award. Big thanks go to Grant Peisley at DEG for putting the network forward but the biggest thanks go to the 5 founding community companies  of Cyd Ynni who are driving good things forward. The evening was organised by both Community Energy Wales and Community Energy England. We had some awe-inspiring community groups who ranged from the tens of millions of pounds down to a solar panel on a community centre. I was really surprised that we had won but also confident that what we have started in NW Wales will continue to grow. I was there with fellow director of Anafon Hydro, Hywel as we also won the only commendation of the evening for the Anafon community hydro. This was topped off with our friends Awel Aman Tawe who won best project for their bloody mindedness in making their community wind turbines now a reality (18 years in the making). As I have explained in earlier blogs Cyd Ynni is about delivering for all by grouping our skills, opportunities and ambitions into local employment, cost savings, accessing funding and multipliers in marketing and fundraising to deliver for each community group. From local energy supply to combined share offers, our second stage BIG lottery bid goes in a couple of weeks and the list goes on. I know I will forget someone but thanks for a successful first year go to.

Energy Local, Welsh Government, Arloisi Gwynedd, Mantell Gwynedd, Welsh Cooperative Centre, Datblygu Egni Gwledig, Community Energy Wales, Partneriaeth Ogwen, Scottish Power, The Green Valleys, Ynni Lleol, Coop Energy and the National Trust!

Founders – Ynni Anafon, Moelyci, Ynni Padarn Peris, Coedtir Mynydd, Ynni Ogwen

The world is full of people who say ‘don’t do this and that because it might… but I like working with people who say go for it. Measure a hundred times and then if you’re confident ‘do it’ Don’t listen to the naysayers or nothing will improve.

I did have a wry smile when leaving the awards as i had not realised we were in the Lady Thatcher business suit… ‘there is no such thing as society’ (to be fair the speech does go on to say that we have an obligation to help our neighbours) but it made me smile as I left the community awards!

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Renewable energy pipe dreams

the 600m of pipes arrived today. the local farmer is taking them up the mountain tomorrow. the civils contrcator comes from 5 miles away. the engineers come brome Crickhowel and the turbine has been ordered from Swansea. This is 'our' hydro!

The 600m of pipes arrived today. The local farmer is taking them up the mountain tomorrow. The civils contractor comes from 5 miles away. The engineers come from Crickhowell and the turbine has been ordered from Swansea. This is ‘our’ hydro!

A pipe dream is according to those in the know ‘an unattainable or fanciful hope or scheme’ I suppose i have misquoted as our dreams over here are being delivered through pipes… and cables, and buildings and most of all people. The last couple of days have seen the two community hydros but also the National Trust biomass turn into a pipe reality. In Bethesda the local contractor is in-stream working on the new intake for the 900mm pipes. We are working with Natural Resources Wales on the new intake structure perched just above the Ogwen falls. In Llanberis today all of our pipes arrived on site ready to go up the mountain tomorrow for the community hydro. Back at HQ (or Penrhyn Castle) the hundreds of meters of heat-main for the new biomass system are now being buried. It really is flat-out. The 30kw Gelli Iago 500m pipe route is nearing completion… what is unique about this pipe route? It’s been hand dug (it can be done!)

Meanwhile over the mountain in Bethesda the local contrcator has started on the intake whils the water is low. getting the site ready fro the 14" weir as we are using a natural step in the rock to make up most of the drop. we have employed a project manager from the village for this job.

Meanwhile over the mountain in Bethesda the local contractor has started on the intake while the water is low. Getting the site ready for the 14 inch weir as we are using a natural step in the rock to make up most of the drop. We have employed a project manager from the village for this job who is supported by a National Trust volunteer.

looking like duck nests the hundres of meters of heat main are waitng to be buried to join the new biomass being built in the car park with the Neo-norman castle.

Meanwhile back at Penrhyn castle and looking like duck nests are the hundreds of meters of heat main which are waiting to be buried to join the new biomass being built-in the car park with the Neo-norman castle.

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How to raise £750k from your local community in weeks… trust, enthusiasm, inclusion and a really good video!

Arloisi Gwynedd the Gwynedd EU Leader team are currently looking into how the Bethesda and Llanberis crowdfunding campaigns which they supported were so successful in raising a lot of money (£750k)  from small, rural and financially poor communities in a short space of time. I am a director of both companies and I suppose this is was one of the top 10 outcomes in my life to date. Working with incredible people for an incredible outcome. Thanks also to the National Trust for sharing their lesson sharing and enabling so much of this to happen from the background! See some of the lessons to date from the film

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Stronger together… we really are!

Prince Charles took a keen interest in the Marine Source Heat pump. Our stand was snawiched between a one tonne energy producing under water kite and a multi billion pound tidal lagoon. Image thanks to @BangorUniversity

Prince Charles took a keen interest in the Marine Source Heat pump and spent a good amount of time with us. Our stand was sandwiched between a one tonne energy producing under-water kite and a multi billion pound tidal lagoon.Not boring!  Image thanks to @BangorUniversity

It’s been one of those weeks. Here is a quick summary. On Monday we found out that the National Trust in Wales community energy initiative had been put forward for a big award (community energy England partnership award. We have been short-listed for Cyd Ynni approach (Energy together)) This was thanks to one of the groups we work with. Tuesday we were at the launch of the brand new Multi million pound EU funded Bangor University SEACAMS centre on Anglesey. Tuesday evening I was off with my father in law by train and car to a certain football match in France. Wednesday the chat over a coffee network Paul, Simon and I devised won one of the biggest environmental awards in the UK. (see previous blog) Oh i forgot on Monday i was also counting bulbs for LED replacement (real life is good to ground you)… its been a good week

The bit I would like to focus on is partnership working which most of the above is. We have worked with Bangor University for coming on a couple of decades now. We felt honoured to be invited and have a stand and also meet the VIP who was opening the new marine centre (it was all very hush hush and we were not told until the day who it was) Paul and i duly turned up with the obligatory banners and film. Our stand was surrounded by multi billion pound projects that Bangor University support with their what was quoted by said VIP ‘world renowned’ expertise in oceanography. But the bit that got me was what Bangor University excel at the application of research or driving research based on need. Not sure where the marine source heat pump would be without the reassurance we gave to the statutory bodies and I suppose our own senior management that we had such a prestigious partner on board. From detailed seabed surveys, inter tidal laser surveys, micro flora and fauna surveys, before, during and after surveys but also introducing us to a network of others who made our life easier Bangor provided a critical component to the development. We really are ‘stronger together’ and we should be fostering such partnerships for the long-term and not just ‘because I have a project’

Celebrate success even if you don't reach the goal. we  too easily focus on weakness rather than strength.

My Wednesday. Celebrate success even if you don’t reach the goal. We too easily focus on weakness rather than strength. If you work on risk management all of the time you play a certain way… but if you play to your strengths and have commitment… good things happen!

PS the next Bangor University / National Trust Wales project is also on the cusp of being launched. Here is a teaser. It involves heat harvesting from some sort of waste. It will be one of the first of its type (again!)

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What a chat over a cup of coffee can lead to

The Fit for the Future Network received the huge accolade of winning a  Business Green Leaders Award in the Employee Engagement Campaign of the Year 2016 category.

Our Project Officer Sophie accepting the award from comedian Hal Cruttenden, who was compere for the evening

Our Project Officer Sophie accepting the award from comedian Hal Cruttenden, who was compere for the evening

The Fit for the Future Network set up in 2013 following myself and Keith chatting over a cup of coffee with Simon at Ashden on how we should set up an Environmental solutions network which Dispels myths and demonstrates that the charity sector can play its part in meeting the challenges posed by climate change and finite resource use.

The Network was recognised for its achievements in engaging almost 1,000 environmental practitioners from 106 different organisations in 2015 in order to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing to drive energy efficiency and sustainability projects.

Judges said of the Network:

“In this highly competitive category, the judges were won over by the reach and ambition of the Fit for the Future Network as it sought to encourage clean tech initiatives amongst both National Trust staff and wider stakeholders. The judges were particular impressed by the ‘environmental dating agency’s’ expansion to take in 80 members and almost 1,000 practitioners.”

Fantastic recognition of the hard work carried out by Chloe Hampson and Sophie McGovern who manage the network, and we are especially proud and honoured  when you look at the  fantastic works undertaken by the other shortlistlisted  campaigns which include the Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland, JLL and Aldi.BG awards room

We’d like to thank all those involved for engaging in the spirit of openness, honesty and sharing to make headway in tackling climate change and increasing resilience over the past three years.

Now time for another coffee!

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