Hydro propspecting getting bigger. Plus one farm tenant is installing a hydro for his children

Uwch Conwy. surveying to see if the ‘up bits’ getting the pipe out of the river can be managed

Yesterday i got very wet. Blue sky and breath-taking views then the weather forecast was spot on. Quite a bit of hydro juice fell out of the sky. NT Ysbyty Ifan estate near Betws y Coed was my destination. Met up with our hydro engineer John and headed off to meet Edward Richie at his NT farm to see how the installation of his 66kw Kw hydro was going. He was just receiving his 500m of pipe when we called in. had a chat and cup of tea and then up the hill to see the weir. really nice site and easily accessible as is his power house. Every farm should have one. he thinks it should be generating around March next year. “Its better than feeding something all winter and then selling it off” It rains a lot here and I can count on making electricity to help with the farm” its something to hand on to my children.” he is also eyeing up another hydro on the farm. Like me and everyone i know on hydros. The bug bites deep when it does.

John and Edward as we started on a long wet day. 10 miles in wellies – lost the hair along a line on the back of my legs from welly slap. something you don’t of hear every day!

John and I then head up the Mountain to survey one of the biggest hydro’s we have on the “possible hydro” list. The Upper Conwy on paper and scanning the maps looks like a 1MW hydro. The hydro would need to take water from the Upper Conwy and the Serw rivers. Big hydro = big cost. The intake points were quite a distance from the possible turbine building and on first look the Upper Conwy is also a very ‘gorgey’ as John called it. Difficult to take the pipe out of the river although we could use a syphon system and go up hill a little bit. after 10miles of walking and quite a bit of ‘getting wet” we think we have the makings of a large hydro. phase 1 complete. will the landscape let you build? phase two – should we build it – ecology, aesthetics, archeology now need to be looked at as well as how far away is the necessary grid capacity

The Migneint moor on the Ysbyty estate is a special place and we now need to see if we should build the hydro. Ecology is king here. the income from this hydro would allow us to work on the conservation of this 21,000ac estate for ever

possible abstraction point on the Serw. it’s a very special place and we must work with the grain of the landscape. (Ps bridge abutments in the image on the left – people have always been a part of the place)

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4 Responses to Hydro propspecting getting bigger. Plus one farm tenant is installing a hydro for his children

  1. Would love to hear more of this story; has the design /topology been decided yet? What is the gross head?
    Richard Kingston

    • Keith Jones says:

      this is very early. the next questions is will the ecology (SSSi, SAC, fish migration) and archaeology let us do what we think needs doing.Turgo / Pelton depends again. then we get to grid availability and the list goes on. 120m of head. all the best Keith

      • Hi Keith,
        With120m head Im a little surprised there is any fisheries aspect; is the watercourse fed by a lake that has fish upstream? In any case Im sure you will get permission but maybe with a 50% of average flow limit on abstraction or suchlike- bummer from an output point of view, but happy fish.
        12 bar is a lot of pressure and with safety margin will be 20+bar, have you decided on penstock yet? Id go steel I think, or perhaps GRP for the top 60m of head and then steel, bit cheaper. Its great to see NT farms actually doing this and not just talking about it (I refer to your sister blogs also). Here in Ireland we have the best intentions but very few installations going on because of our piss poor feed in tariffs. I assume you will continue this blog so we can all keep up to date on how its going? Please give us a blow by blow.
        Excellent photos by the way, lots more of those please and keep up the great work.

      • Keith Jones says:

        we have a long depeletated reach which means there will be fish movement and so we need to make sure the hands off flow is adequate. in sowdonia based on ecology you are looking at a typical Q95 /50 + 20. On the pipe the Snowdon 640kw we are building now is MDPE for the upper 900m and steel for the last 200. as you say its half the price. there can be a cost increse for instillation on steel because of shorter sections and more faff around jointing and preperation. have not gone for GRP because of that nagging instillation detailing issue and might get something wrong and we end up with a problem. the blog is there to share what we do. we have another15 on the go at the moment from 5MW to 15kw. all the best and thanks for following. keith

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