Turning water into a conservation win

The hydro intake weir at Hafod y Llan farm, Snowdonia

Our first large hydro turbine has been switched on at a Snowdonia farm and is now helping to fund our conservation work.

The hydroelectric scheme has been sensitively crafted into the rugged heather-splashed Snowdonia landscape at Hafod y Llan farm by our dedicated team in Wales.
‘The real prize for us as Europe’s largest conservation charity, is that we are helping to protect special places forever. We’re creating sustainable energy solutions that work in complete harmony with our natural and historic heritage.' - Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director.

An exciting journey

Keith Jones, our environmental advisor for Wales, said that working on the Snowdon hydro project has brought many challenges, but it's just the beginning of an exciting journey for the Trust.
'It’s taken 300 tonnes or a mile of pipe, six tonnes of turbine and generator kit and more than 100 people to make this project happen. Add in the southern face of Snowdon, snow, heavy rain, rock and 60,000 walkers passing the site per year and you can see why this has been a bit of a challenge.' Keith said.
'The end result? We’ve got a hidden hydro capturing half a tonne of water per second and generating a couple of million kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year – I’m quietly pleased!'

Conservation funded by renewables

The power produced by the Snowdon hydro was sold through our new renewable energy trading company to our energy partner and green electricity supplier. The project generated around 1,900 MWhr of electricity per year, which is enough to power around 445 homes.
Patrick Begg, our rural enterprises director said: 'We’re lucky to be blessed with an abundance of natural resources that we look after for the benefit of the nation. Now with this new trading company we can harness some of the power generated by nature to help fund our conservation work.’

An ambitious plan

We are looking for opportunities to install renewable technology where it is appropriate and in the right location and scale for the landscape. Already we have developed more than 250 small and medium-scale renewable energy schemes across England and Wales, including biomass, solar and hydro technology.
Last year, we also launched an ambitious plan to provide clean energy to 43 of our historic properties. It is hoped the scheme will help us to generate 50 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Through our renewable energy plans and with energy conservation work, we hope to save an estimated £4million from our energy bill each year – which we can invest in conservation work at the places we look after.