Hafod y Llan (Snowdonia) economical micro hydro works kicks off

Afon Merch / Erch waterfall near the farm. I had forgotten how stunning this river was with its multiple cascading waterfalls surrounded by oaks and mosses

Spent this morning with Nic Wymer the intern from the centre for alternative technology We were scoping out the low-cost hydro site we are looking to develop at Hafod y Llan. (about 40m from the 650kw hydro) Before i arrived at the farm  i stopped at Hafod y Bwch outdoor education centre. the collection of old barns the NT  are developing with Plumpton College. Stunning location on the shores of Llyn Gwynant  in the shadow of Snowdon (see previous blog) The 4kw’s of PV are now on the roof, insulation going in (insulate well and heat with a candle type of approach here) the Sanyo monocrystaline panels are looking good and have an anodised frame in order to give a wholly black appearance. We should have also specked anodised brackets  as well but lesson learnt

Monocrystaline Pv looking good against the re-used slate on the roof. This roof is not the principal elevation and so the PV does not dominate the building

Still lots of work to do but the building is in the ‘bring it together’ phase now

Dave the Area ranger, Nic and myself walked up the river to look for a suitable weir point. Think this will be a head scratcher as there are plenty which are almost right. The river is a prime candidate for a 100kw + system but it was decided early on not to develop a large system here because of the damage which could be caused to the fragile oak woods. The challenge for the v small system is to look at how this demonstration system can be built almost by hand and to prefabricate as much as possible – both on cost but also around the build ability. the purpose of the system ultimately to share what we have learnt. One of the questions i am most often asked about developing hydros normally starts “I have a stream” running through the farm and was wondering what to do with it…well we are testing a lot of approaches with this slightly larger than domestic hydro and will be sharing…

Multiple waterfalls and a big ‘spatey’ river in a National Nature Reserve. Lets see what we can sensitively develop here.

The brief for Nic is brief. What can be built sensitively and of decent quality for under £20,000, with a sub 6 year payback which we can share with others? we hope to end up with a sort of practical and not theoretical tool kit for micro hydro

Dave and Nic looking at what is technically known as ‘stuff’ (one of the gorges along the river)

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3 Responses to Hafod y Llan (Snowdonia) economical micro hydro works kicks off

  1. Thanks for the update Keith. We’ll continue to watch and learn with interest. Micro hydro for sub £20k with 6 year payback – I assume you are going to use an off-the shelf turbine which is MCS accredited (no much choice here), rather than build/design your own and go through the pain of accreditation?

  2. Very interesting. It is great to hear of this kind of initiative underway. Keep up the good work! And lovely shots of the waterfalls, by the way.

  3. Pingback: Micro hydro project | RENEWING MY CAREER

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