Many groups and individuals contact us each year asking about how Talybont Energy started and set up the Turbine. Unfortunately as the directors of Talybont Energy are all volunteers with day jobs we are not always available to meet and talk to people about this, so we have started this page to help people who may want to start their own community group and develop a Hydro turbine project.
Talybont Energy’s experience is slightly different from most groups who start from nothing because we were able to make use of a disused hydro scheme and turbine house at Talybont Reservoir. We needed to install a new turbine.
A short video documentary on Talybont Energy has been created by
The turbine that Talybont Energy installed is a 36kW hydro electric cross flow turbine. In winter, from November to April, the turbine flow is about 230 litres a second, but in summer it drops to about 115 litres per second. The flow is constant, so the output of the turbine can be accurately predicted.
The turbine “head” – the distance between the surface of the reservoir and the turbine house – is about 24 metres (or 80 feet). The theoretical Wattage available is therefore:
Flow in Litres/second × Head in metres × Gravitation Constant
230 × 24 × 9.82 = 54.2 kW (winter flow)
In practice our turbine produces a maximum of 33kW in winter – i.e. about 60% efficient – and 19kW in summer. But this power is produced 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so the turbine produces between 220 and 250 megaWatt hours annually.
In 2009 the turbine generated about £30,000 gross income and while we are currently negotiating from ROCs to a Feed In Tariff (FIT) rate with Good Energy, we hope that 2011 will provide the same amount of gross income.
Talybont Energy is a Company Limited by Guarantee. The Directors are all members of the local community and volunteer their time for the work of the group. The 9 directors meet once a month for formal committee meetings and employ an admin person 4 hours a week to help maintain website and e-mails and undertake project work.
The income generated by the turbine is used for sustainable projects within the local community – you can see a list of the projects under the ‘Community projects’ heading.
We hold open days throughout the year where people can come to visit the turbine and talk to members of Talybont Energy. If you are unable to come and see us feel free to e-mail us and we will try and help you on any questions you may have.
Other sources of information:
The Environmental Agency has created a guide for setting up hydro projects – Hydropower A Guide For You and Your Community
As mentioned above Energyshare is a fantastic source of information for community groups and provides access to help, support and advice as well as acting as a space for individuals, groups and communities to share ideas.
Northumberland Renewable Energy Group has published a report looking the experiences and lessons learnt from 5 community renewal energy projects – click here to find it on their website