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Maesglas hydro-electric scheme

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Ty Bro Dyfi

Y Plas,
Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8ER, UK.
phone: 01654 703965
e-mail: info@ecodyfi.org.uk

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In the energy section

Visitors from Ilam inspecting Maesglas penstock


The family at the turbine house


Visitors from Ilam inspecting an intake


Maintaining the turbine


The turbine runner

Mid Wales farmer Tegwyn Jones is hoping that the income he receives from harnessing one of the most natural of resources on his land will enable two of his sons to remain on the family farm when they finish their educational studies.

Tegwyn Jones has already completed one hydro-electric scheme on his hill farm - most of it in the Berwyn Mountains SSSI - and he is now planning to add a second by the summer of 2004.

"My eldest sons are keen to work at home once they finish their schooling and I am hoping that these two schemes will be help to make this economically possible," said Welsh-speaking Tegwyn, of Talyglannau Farm, Mallwyd, Powys, who has 900 ewes and 25 suckler cows.

He said he 'borrowed' the idea of creating hydro-electric schemes from his late grandfather, Rowland Evans of Dinas Mawddwy, who built some in the 1920s and 1930s.

"I was reminded of them when I read that the Dyfi Eco Valley Partnership (ecodyfi) was offering a 30% European grant towards the cost of renewable energy projects in the Dyfi Valley.

"I believed I had an ideal site on one boundary of my farm and Andy Rowland of ecodyfi soon confirmed this and advised me on the steps I needed to take.

"Rainwater falls 550 feet through a 10-inch pipe down the side of the mountain from two small weirs into a specially built power house where a turbine helps to convert into electricity, which is sold to London Electricity.

"When in full flow it produces 95 kilowatts, but this only happens for about 25% of the year.

"The amount produced for the rest of the year all depends on the level of rainfall."

Renewable energy projects like this help combat climate change by generating electricity without releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Local environmental effects have to be considered as well, whether visual or otherwise.

In the case of water power, the Environment Agency regulates the abstraction of water to protect the habitat in the deprived stretch of watercourse between the intake and the return.

In Snowdonia there is particular concern for Atlantic Bryophytes such as lichens that require damp conditions.

The abstraction regime also has to take into account invertebrates and fish.

Tegwyn said the proposed second scheme would be in another part of the farm and use water from the River Clywedog.

"There is a lot more water there and this scheme will have double the capacity of the first one."

He said he was hoping for grant assistance towards the cost of the project.

"I have been in discussions with officials from the WDA, who have been extremely helpful.

"I was initially hoping to receive a Farm Enterprise Grant (FEG), but as I have already been allocated a Farm Improvement Grant (FIG) towards a much-needed 80 x 40 cattle shed and covered muck store this restricts the amount I can receive from a FEG.

"The officials have suggested that I might be better off by applying for another grant that may be available and they are currently examining the options."

Further information

Andy Rowland, Manager, ecodyfi. tel: 01654 703965
Tegwyn Jones: 01650 531411.

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