Articles & Case Studies

Piping Power to Snowdonia

Posted: Wednesday 28th August 2013

GPS PE Pipe Systems is helping the National Trust deliver its strategy for renewable energy with the supply of PE penstock pipe for the charity’s Hafod y Llan hydro-electric power scheme in Snowdonia.

The 640kW scheme on the slopes of Snowdon is part of the Trust’s ‘Fit for the Future’ initiative to further the organisation’s conservation remit by investing in renewables and moving towards energy self-sufficiency in Wales. Once the scheme goes live in November, it will generate sufficient electricity to power all National Trust major sites and properties in Wales and the income generated by the energy it supplies to the grid will be used to enable conservation projects within Snowdonia.

Designed by Hydropower Services, the Hafod y Llan scheme will use water from the Afon Cwm Llan at the head of the valley which will be fed through a 1km PE penstock to arrive at the turbine at the foot of the valley before being returned to the river downstream.

Explains John Millen, senior project manager for the National Trust: “Many of our properties are in remote locations and rely on oil power supplies, so this project will be a major step forward in our environmental performance and fuel self-sufficiency. In delivering those environmental aims, however, it’s essential that we preserve the landscape and ecology here in Snowdonia and the installation of the penstock will involve burying the pipeline in the hillside so that there is minimal visual impact once the scheme is completed. The flexibility of PE will enable us to achieve that goal and the fact that GPS has worked with us to value engineer the specification matching pipe pressure ratings to the head at every point along the route has also helped us minimise costs.”

The penstock installation began at the end of April. The project team will build a weir amongst abandoned copper mines to divert a part of the mountain river overflow to the penstock which will take it to the turbine on the Trust’s Hafod y Llan farm in the valley.

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