Community energy – The secret ingredient. Anafon community hydro progress

Had a really good meeting last night (along with superb coffee and lemon drizzle cake!). The 500kw Anafon community hydro is moving forward. Last night was a planning evening… who does what, when, who do we involve?

What is the secret ingredient of this project? It’s not the water, grid, landscape and so on (they help) but its the small dedicated team who are making this large, complex and expensive project, possible!

The team. Dafydd on the left, Gavin and Hywel. Not sure what I’m finding so fascinating about Dafydd’s jumper! Oh and this is the source of the superb coffee and cake! If you have a chance call in at Caffi’r Felin in Abergwyngregyn.

We are about to go to tender on the hydro. This tender is to develop the surveys and technical design. Working with us is Dafydd Watts from Ynni’r Fro the ERDF supported initiative from the Welsh Government. Dafydd has been a stalwart of the entire process. We hope that some funding for this phase gan be secured through Ynni’r Fro but as ever the dreaded state aid aspect applies to this project as well as any other. But working with the Ofgem and Dafydd I think we have found a way to work within the boundaries. Funding the non generating aspects e.g. surveys and alike.

ERDF and Welsh Gov helping this project through Dafydd

Winning the Cooperative Community Challenge has bought another person to our small team. James Watt works for the Centre for Sustainable Energy who manage the Challenge for the Cooperative and he will be working with us for the next 18 months. The main area we see a need for his skills will be around the formation of the energy co-operative / company and legal support and so on

Finally the power houses of the project Gavin and Hywel. The former is a retired head of department from the University of Bangor and the later a senior planner in Gwynedd council. Both have stunning community CV’s and are the pair that the project is wrapped around. No secret really. Good people make good projects!

Gavin and Hywel with another member of the team. The river Anafon!

Additionally we have a meeting with the Cooperative next week to explore the fabled ‘sleeving’ as a way of adding value and bringing wider benefits to the Hafod y Llan hydro and the Anafon hydro. More on this as it develops

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