£12m plan to har­ness Val­ley’s wa­ter power

North Wales Weekly News - - NEWS - BY MARI JONES [email protected]­i­tymir­ror.com @week­lynews­mari

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

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