The natural slate manufacturer has supported the Hydro Ogwen scheme.
An award-winning initiative to give a new lease of life to a North Wales hydroelectric scheme was officially launched on Saturday, the first day of Community Energy Fortnight, with help from local business Welsh Slate.
The leading manufacturer of Welsh Slate has helped Ynni Ogwen Cyf with the development of a community hydroelectric scheme on Afon Ogwen in Bethesda where Welsh Slate’s Penrhyn Quarry is located.
It was opened by Hywel Williams MP during a special event which included a guided walk along the river bank, a presentation on its historical context by local historian John Llywelyn Williams, items by local schools, and a welcome by Ynni Ogwen chair Meleri Davies.
The scheme comprises the installation of a new turbine on a site 20 metres from an old turbine house with an old Gikes turbine which was used to power machinery at Welsh Slate’s Penrhyn Quarry in 1929.
It is a wholly community-owned hydroelectric scheme, with local shareholders and the community benefitting from the profits generated by selling the electricity to the grid. This differentiates it from the many other commercially-owned hydroelectric schemes.
Meleri Davies said: “The hydroelectric turbine was a relic from an era when the quarry used water to power some of its machinery. Now that renewable energy generation is becoming a big issue in our area, bringing a new lease of life to this old hydroelectric scheme will build on the long history of renewable energy generation in the valley.”
Welsh Slate’s support for the scheme has included providing the land on a rental basis, the use of a compound for construction materials and plant, and materials for pathways and walling.
Welsh Slate managing director Chris Allwood said: “Penrhyn Quarry is a major local employer and we are delighted to be able to continue to support the local community councils, particularly for a project which promotes the link between the quarry and the community.”
Hydro Ogwen won the Engaging the Community category of the Welsh Green Energy Awards and was highly commended in the Sustainable Community category of the Sustain Wales Awards 2016.