Community hydro energy project offers homeowners cut price electricity


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Homeowners in the Corwen area could save themselves some cash while saving the planet and boosting the local economy.

They are being invited to sign up to a community project to take advantage of the energy generated by the town’s very own hydro-electric power plant which started generating last year.

It could be worth over £300 a year to some households in savings and provide the community with up to £2,000 a year to spend on local good causes.

Energy Local Corwen is being run by the South Denbighshire Community Partnership who are keen to sign up 37 households in the first step to making the Edeyrnion area one of the ‘greenest’ in Wales.

SDCP Chief Officer Margaret Sutherland said: “We want to make people aware of what an innovative and exciting project this is and how it could put Corwen at the forefront of the green revolution in Wales.

“We are expecting a lot of interest because people could make really substantial savings from our very own hydro-power scheme and that money can be spent locally while at the same time surplus cash from the power generation will be channeled into community projects and we are saving the planet as well.

“We would expect to be over-subscribed and it will be on a first come, first served basis but those who miss out this time will go onto a waiting list and with another, bigger hydro-power scheme in the pipeline at Bonwm. Near Corwen, they shouldn’t have to wait too long.”

Residents of Corwen and the surrounding villages of Glyndyfrdwy, Llidiart y Parc, Carrog, Cynwyd, Gwyddelwern, Bryn SM and Bryneglwys should be eligible to sign up with Energy Local Corwen.

The scheme is being run by Tom Taylor, of Speed of Thought Ltd, and he said: “A similar scheme in Bethesda has had studies done showing that people who sign up can expect savings of between ten and 30 per cent.

“That could amount to up to £300 a year for a household which is a significant amount of money and because renewable energy is ‘green’ there is a social responsibility element to the project as well.

“Our role is to create a template for how this can work for future schemes and developing the co-operative that will be made up of the households which sign up and they will play a part in its running alongside the directors of the Corwen Hydro Project.”

The electricity generated at the turbine house in the town centre is driven by the Nant y Pigyn and Nant Cawrddu streams which plunge 500 feet from a reservoir high above Corwen to generate 55 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to supply up to 40 homes a year.

Over its 40-year lifespan of receiving government feed-in tariffs it is estimated that the project will generate £1.2 million with £120,000 going directly to community benefit for local organisations and good causes.

The scheme is publicly owned and it is also payback time for them after an issue of £1 shares raised £318,000, over half of them bought locally, to fund the project which was developed by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd.

The agency provided a £12,000 feasibility study through its LEADER fund as part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is financed by the Welsh Government and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

LEADER is a fund for rural areas in Wales to explore innovative new approaches and experimental technologies to tackle poverty, create jobs and drive sustainable economic development.

Silas Jones, Project Officer with rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd who piloted the Corwen Hydro Project, said: “This is a really exciting and groundbreaking project which will become a model for others to follow and which we can also follow ourselves as Corwen develops into a hub of renewable energy.

“It is ideally placed for water power with the Bonwm project to go ahead and to provide even more energy and major wind power developments also taking place in the Clocaenog Forest as well as smaller schemes nearby.”

For more information on the Energy Local Corwen project and South Denbighshire Community Partnership go to http://www.canolfan-ni.org/ and to https://www.facebook.com/SouthDenbighshireCommunityPartnership/ and for more on Cadwyn Clwyd go to http://cadwynclwyd.co.uk/

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