Old hydros, community group and sustainable energy. Is this the next community energy scheme?

This evening has been a good one. Combining old hydros, community group and future sustainable energy production. I was out with a community group from Bethesda looking at a possible community hydro project. It follows a discovery for me of a redundant hydro in the Penrhyn Slate quarry especially because it has all of the necessary infrastructure still around (pipe route, weir, fish pass and hydro) Previous blog

The previous blog image did not do justice to the scale and presence of this large Francis turbine. Dafydd Meurig the local councillor and Dafydd Watts from community energy (Ynni’r Fro)  giving the turbine some scale

The purpose of the meeting tonight was to gauge the appetite of the group, the complexities of the proposal and the milestones we need to hit before this project even reaches a pre feasibility stage. The appetite is certainly there and I’m sure the National Trust can help with this project in terms of sign-posting and technical assistance. The complexities with every hydro are many and this is no exception. The first action which we have taken away is that of ownership – Who owns what bit of land and are they willing to work with us on this undertaking. This needs establishing before we get anywhere near the engineering.

One thought occurred to me was that of capacity factor for this turbine.(what percentage of the year it will run) The turbine is probably much smaller than it could have been since the quarry would have wanted it to run the large air compressor all year round (even in the lower summer levels of the river). Today it could actually run for most of the year if the abstraction regime was allowable meaning that it could generate quite a large annual load (most in Snowdonia run for about 40% of the year) but water abstraction regime was quite a bit different in 1929 and habitats and species needs would have been second to the quarry.

For a community hydro it’s not the engineering which is the most important but the people. I also gained a lot of local and historic information about the hydro, pipe routes and electricity supply tonight from the group

lets see if we can get this lump of steel back to life and hopefully sustaining a community

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3 Responses to Old hydros, community group and sustainable energy. Is this the next community energy scheme?

  1. tomeeagle says:

    Great pics Keith – yeah the turbine is much bigger than it looked in the previous pics. Would be fantastic to get it up and running again. It’s always great to see decrepit pieces of engineering brought back to life.

  2. Pingback: Old hydros, community group and sustainable energy. Is this the next community energy scheme? | hidden hydros

  3. Pingback: Community hydro sharing again and the Hafod y Llan hydro is disappearing into the mountain | National Trust Going Green

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