On September 8th the National Trust is hosting a free Hydro Tour in Snowdonia as part of the ‘Community Energy Fortnight’, which aims to engage communities with local energy possibilities and inspire others to generate and save energy.
Hydro schemes are an integral part of the community energy projects in Snowdonia and the Mountain Walk offers an opportunity to see the ins and outs of the completed and nearly completed hydros against a scenic backdrop. The tour will begin at the National Trust’s Hafod y Llan farm and the introductory talk shall feature members of the Anafon Community Hydro Project who will detail their own experiences of community energy and the process behind planning, developing and building a hydro. There will also be a tour of the micro renewables at Hafod y Llan as well as an insight into its sustainable farming methods.
After lunch, generously provided by The Cooperative, the Mountain Walk will begin in earnest. Led by Wales’ Environmental Advisor Keith Jones it will provide an informative and picturesque tour of the hydro projects and will last approximately two hours. Participants are warned that the tour is strenuous so a good level of fitness will be required! The hydro schemes vary in size and stages of completion – the largest Snowdon hydro will be 640kw and the energy that it produces can be sold back to the National Grid thereby generating a local income, as well as a sustainable energy source, for the community. The smallest, however, is a 15kw micro hydro designed to power the farm and any surplus energy will be passed onto local businesses. It is expected that the large Snowdon hydro and the Hafod y Llan PV will generate around 1,800MWh each year. To put this in a community context the average house uses 3.3 MWh of electricity per year. This demonstrates the value of hydro systems to community energy projects and the viability of the projects as a means of social and conservation benefits.
The tour will conclude at the Snowdon Community Café, where walkers can reward themselves with tea and cake. Unfortunately there are only a limited number of spaces available on the walk so make sure that you book your space as soon as possible.
On top of the Mountain Walk the National Trust is also hosting a series of other free events, along with other members of the Community Energy Coalition for the ‘Community Energy Fortnight’. These include a community heat workshop in Coleshill, one of the original Low Carbon Villages. Open to both members of public and National Trust staff there will be a morning of workshops led by community energy group veterans, National Trust wardens and community project managers. In keeping with the Trust’s commitment to sustainable woodland management there will be an afternoon tour of our existing biomass and woodlands.
If you would like further information about the Community Energy Fortnight or to book a place on the events, please contact Low Carbon Villages coordinator, Chloe Hampson: firstname.lastname@example.org.