Hydro Scheme

The Anafon Hydro Scheme is the latest community venture in Abergwyngregyn. It is not the power of the Aber Falls that will be driving the scheme, but water from the Anafon valley, taken out at one point and returned further downstream once it has passed through our turbine house.

The scheme will be owned and managed by Ynni Anafon Energy Cyf, an Independent Provident Society set up to build and run this community hydro scheme. There are opportunities for all, not just villagers, to be involved, through owning shares. Full information on the share issue is on our Anafon Hydro website, see below.

About the Scheme

In 2010 in partnership with the National Trust, the landowners in the Carneddau range, ARC started to explore the feasibility of developing a hydroelectric scheme on the Afon Anafon above the village of Abergwyngregyn.

Following the initial discussions, a meeting to discuss the proposal took place in 2011. The meeting, chaired by ARC, was attended by representatives of the National Trust, the Snowdonia National Park Authority, Gwynedd County Council, Ynni’r Fro, the Environment Agency and the Countryside Council for Wales. Forestry Commission Wales and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust were also invited.

All organizations present were supportive of the proposed project which has the potential to provide long-term income to support development and regeneration in local communities, to support the activities of the National Trust and to reduce the area’s carbon footprint. The proposal was also enthusiastically supported by the Abergwyngregyn Community Council and by the ward’s Gwynedd County Councillor, Dafydd Meurig.

At this meeting, the Environment Agency representative stated that, out of the over 100 potential hydro sites that had been assessed in Wales, the Anafon Valley was the most promising. It was therefore agreed that ARC and NT would jointly fund a pre-feasibility study for the development of a hydro-electric project on the site.

The positive indications of this study, which indicated the potential for a 500kW hydro, and the unanimous support of the community at an open community consultation meeting, encouraged ARC to enter the Anafon Hydro Project in the Cooperative Community Energy Challenge in 2012 which attracted applications from 127 communities all over the United Kingdom. The Anafon scheme was chosen as one of only seven winners and the only one in Wales and received an award of financial, organisational and legal advice to a total value of £10K together with a cash payment of a further £10k.

On the basis of the preliminary feasibility study and with the support of grant funding from Ynni’r Fro, the Waterloo Foundation and the National Trust, a full feasibility study and environmental assessment of the site, together with preliminary design work for the intake weir and turbine house, have been completed. This feasibility study included consultations with Scottish Power and the Environment Agency (now NRW) as a result of which the potential output of the scheme was reduced to 270kW due to grid connection considerations and the ecological sensitivity of the site.

Applications for abstraction and impoundment licences and for planning consent for a 270kW hydro scheme were therefore submitted to Natural Resources Wales and to the Snowdonia National Park Authority Planning Department respectively, in July 2013. Planning consent was obtained in December 2013, and licences for abstraction and impoundmnet were granted by Natural Resources Wales on the 11th of August 2014.

Currently, ARC is engaged in negotiating landowner agreements, seeking funds to finance the grid connection, project design, securing the financial package to build and manage the scheme, negotiating the turbine contract, preparing the civils tender packages and negotiating the civils contract. The company aims to apply for Feed In Tariff registration in May 2014 and hopes to start construction later in the year.

See also Anafon Hydro’s website