£12m plan to harness Valley’s water power
ANEW £12m hydro project could soon be developed in the Conwy Valley, which would generate enough electricity to power 3,000 homes.
Planning is being submitted by RWE Innogy UK to the Snowdonia National Park Authority in the beginning of the New Year, to develop the scheme near Conwy Falls.
The project would be located across the Conwy Falls and Fairy Glen and adjacent to the A5, three miles south east of Betws y Coed in Snowdonia National Park.
The First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones was in Dolgarrog to switch on the new turbine at Dolgarrog Hydro Station.
The First Minister said North Wales is becoming a powerhouse for renewable energy.
The proposed 4.5 megawatts (MW) run-of-river scheme is being developed alongside local landowners, the Voelas Estate and the National Trust.
It would take two years to build, and it’s expected local firms will be used to construct the power plant.
Billy Langley, senior hydro- electric development engineer said: “If successful in getting planning permission there will be a buried cable from the site to the substation in Betws y Coed, so the power generated will be used locally and any left over will go into the National Grid.
“The planning application will go in January, if successful site investigations will start next Summer, then the work will start properly in 2016.
“There is huge potential in Snowdonia for hydro power, but the Conwy Falls scheme would be quite a big one and pretty unique.”
The proposed run-of-river scheme would not required a dam, and the majority of components, including the pipeline would be buried underground to minimise any visual impact.
A proportion of river water would be required via an intake weir on the Afon Conwy, and fed through a tunnel and pipeline to a new generating station upstream of the A470 bridge, where it is then returned to the river.
As with all its renewable energy projects, Innogy expects the project will invest in a range of local community and environ- mental initiatives, which can help the area.
They recently gave quite a lot of funding to Dolgarrog’s Memorial Gardens project.
The funding made available is likely to be up to £22,500 per year for the 30 year lease period, subject to the ongoing operation of the site.
Conwy Valley councillor Hilary Rogers-Jones said: “I think it’s wonderful news that another hydro scheme could be developed, as the energy is so green.
“Wales is making the use of its natural resources so I think more the better!”
Plans for the hydro scheme near Conwy Falls from RWE Innogy UK