Nic Wymer an intern from the Centre for Alternative Technology started working with us last week. And his task? Following several community consultations on the large Snowdon hydro the same questions seemed to come out again and again. It usually starts “i have this stream which passes the house. How do i go about finding out about doing a small hydro?” what this showed was a large gap in information and examples for people to take home and implement
Nic’s task is to work with the NT and others and develop a more standardised and easier approach. Resulting in some form of hydro tool kit (documentation, examples, flow chart and so on). Peco (small) hydros can be prohibitively expensive simply because of the cost of the ‘expert’ engineers who are required to help. But having seen a few examples of systems which are ‘good enough’ and seen the cost reductions in a standardised and prefabricated approach this is an area we think we can look into.
But developing a theory and an approach is ‘nice’ part of Nic’s project is to also develop an actual peco hydro to meet certain cost, quality and payback criteria. The ideal is a 5kw system which pays back in under 6 years but lets wait to see. The chosen river for this project is Afon Erch (or Merch) on Hafod y llan. Hafod y Llan is also the site of the 15kw and 650kw hydros. (Nic will be shadowing and be mentored by the engineers we have on site) Hopefully in 18 or so months we will have 3 hydros within 200m of each other. Above all the main driver is to share the information and ‘tool kits as they develop and will be available through this blog. seeing is believing!
Finally as a belt and braces and as a test of usability Tom an NT Building Surveyor from the N West will also be testing the tool kit on another possible peco hydro in the Lake District