The Green valleys work – continuing our quest for low cost micro hydro

On site. warts and all. Weir being constructed for a 6.5kw hydro. (large pipe on the side used to bring the concrete down to the construction site) photo from iphone

Just spent one and a bit days in S Wales looking at and discussing simpler and more standardised approaches to micro hydro. Those of you who have been following the blog will know this is an area we have been researching for a while. Bringing micro hydro down to between 5 to 8 year payback whilst maintaining quality and efficiency is the current quest. Along with my N West counterpart Garry Sharples we spend yesterday with the ‘drivers’ behind the Green Valley work and who also work through their offshoot hydro development company TGV. TGV is a group of seven committed project managers, engineers and business individuals committed to community and local micro hydro development. I had been seeing them mentioned in a lot of press over the last few years and following a chat at the Royal Welsh spring show we ended up in the Abergavenny area  looking at a Peco hydro in mid install and discussing permissions, financing, technical engineering, project management and so on implications

low tec and effective. Pipe has been simply benched through the woodland. it will later be strapped into place and allowed to settle into the landscape

Their approach is simple which is keep things ‘simple’. It’s the figuring out what you ‘need’ and not what you want. This includes their approach to working virtually (cloud based office system) no office with the associated overheads. Whilst maintaining rigour and professionalism when it comes to the hydro work itself. They have developed a nice standardised costing regime and project development track for micro hydro. (Their cost per kw from what i saw means that small hydros become viable in an acceptable time frame). Their work covers everything from the ‘i have a stream’ evaluation for land owners to a full and detailed finance, development and installation package.

Simple tongue and groove insulated turbine shed built on site

But i cant finish this blog without mentioning where we met the team which was at the Talgarth mill. Chris from TGV is also the chairman of volunteer group who have developed, restored and maintain the mill. It had all the ingredients i like. Historic water power, they make their own flour, bake and sell the bread on the premises, cafe with some of the best locally sourced food i have seen but to top is all for me was the quality of the coffee. Who needs an office when you can meet here!

What can i say! Local food does not get any more local than this. Talgarth water-mill makes the flour, baked on site and sold in the cafe which is part of the mill

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2 Responses to The Green valleys work – continuing our quest for low cost micro hydro

  1. Another great blog!
    How long was the delivery pipe for the concrete? Were there issues cleaning it?
    I assume this is a remote site, so how is maintenance (especially of fouling) being addressed?
    I think a visit is in order.

    • Keith Jones says:

      It was not that long.It came from a field some 10m above. which meant the pipe could be dragged up quickly and cleaned. (they also had the ususal straw bale and terram wrapped silt traps) as far as intake fouling was concerned they had a nice slighly oversized prefabricated intake box which did not use ‘the usual coander screen’ but one with 3mm holes and was angled to be fairly self cleaning. Then adding the internal baffles and designing some nice and neat systems along the pipel route it designed out a lot of the ‘usual’ flouling issues but they did put in solutions should ‘events’ hit the pipe ie the pipe could be cleaned easily, joints were positioned so that the pipe would not rip the plate off the weir and so on. One of the engineers come from a disater relief back ground and specialised in water system repair follwoing catastrophic events and designed neat low cost approaches to dealing with the ususal problems

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