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Community Hydro visit- April 2018

The Ynni Ogwen Hydro site is a unique community led project in Snowdonia.

 

Participants met at 10:30am the Pont Ogwen caravan park and were given a conducted tour of the hydro site commencing at the headworks weir and following the path of the underground pipeline to the power house. Brian Jones and Gareth Jones of the Ynni Ogwen team conducted the tour. The Site of the old turbine house that supplied compressed air to the neighbouring quarry was noted. This turbine is now abandoned but the plant still remains in place.

 

At the powerhouse the visitors saw the new generating plant and it was explained how the turbine worked and was controlled. The turbine is an Ossberger crossflow design driving a 100Kw induction generator through a 2.5/1 gearbox. Operating head is 16.5m with a maximum flow of 850lps

The generation statistics over the first 12 months of operation have exceeded expectations.

The challenges of Operation and Maintenance was discussed. The contribution of an excellent volunteer network in conducting weekly visits and monitoring was essential to keep the plant operational.

 

Following the site visit the participants moved to the Coed y Brenin Café in Bethesda for two short presentations by Meleri Williams and Dr Mary Gillie.

As Chairman, Mel was involved in the Project from concept to reality, including the raising of local funding through a share sell. All share options were taken up locally within 2 months, raising over £450,000 to fund the plant. Challenges such as the pre-investigation studies, interfacing with various bodies and bringing the community along with the scheme was explained. From feasibility studies to commissioning took about 3 years, with generation commencing in May 2017.

 

Mary has established the Local Energy group. This is a local power contract arrangement to help alleviate fuel poverty by providing lower tariffs to residents who have registered for smart meters and are able to manage their energy demand to optimise the use of local generation. Mary explained the roll out of Local Energy and the challenges of bringing the concept to the community. Ynni Ogwen, as well as other generators in the locality, work with Energy Local.

 

Following a few Q&As the event finished with a buffet lunch and allowed some networking to take place. Extremely positive feedback received suggesting that Saturday events such as this provide a relaxing experience and we should perhaps consider more similar events.

 

On the disappointing side this was a fully booked (20 maximum) event but within the first week, numbers reduced to about 13. However, on the day we had some additional members turn up who had not registered giving us a total of 16. Overall not a bad result!

 

Thanks to all who took part from the Ynni Ogwen team.



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