Micro hydro

Before the arrival of reliable mains electricity in the Brecon Beacons, many landowners relied on private micro hydro schemes to generate electricity.
Now, with rising energy prices and the incentive of Feed-In Tariff payments, micro hydro is once again a viable option, and a key part of our strategy to make Llangattock a carbon negative community.

Why micro hydro?

There are three very good reasons for choosing micro hydro:
1. Good annual rainfall and plenty of steep hillside streams make micro hydro the natural choice for generating sustainable renewable energy in the Brecon Beacons.

2. Micro hydro is small scale, so it has a very low visual and environmental impact.

3. Micro hydro uses tried-and-tested technology, proven over many years.

Where we are at

Initial feasibility work begins using funding provided through the British Gas Green Streets Competition. Five potential streams identified.

Summer 2011
LGV wins the British Gas Green Streets competition, securing £100,000 to develop community micro hydro.

Summer 2011 – Autumn 2013
Further feasibility work whittles the five streams down to three. Of these, one is taken forward privately by the landowner. The remaining two schemes for phase 1 – Cwm Gu and Llwmws – go into development through our trading arm, LGV Ventures, in partnership with the landowners.

Autumn 2013
Llangattock Green Valleys Micro Hydro (1) Co-operative Ltd successfully raises the full £270,000 needed to fund the development and construction costs of the two schemes, with construction on track to start in summer 2014.

Spring 2014
Llangattock Green Valleys Micro Hydro (2) Co-operative Ltd launches, with a share offer target of £690,000 to build a further four schemes. Micro Hydro (1) schemes receive planning permission from Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

Spring 2014 onwards
Development work continues on other streams, which are set to become the subject of future share offers.

June 2014

MH-1’s first AGM is held. LGV welcomes two new directors, Mike Proctor and Miriam Griffiths to the Board.

August 2014

MH-2 share offer scheme closes to investors.

November 2014

Construction starts at our first MH-1 scheme Cwm Gu, on the Glanusk Estate and the penstock pipe is delivered to site.

We now have full permission and licensing for our first MH-2 scheme Nant y Hafod, above the Clydach Gorge.

Planning permission is granted with some conditions for the Gargwy Fach scheme.

January 2015

The turbine house base is complete and the penstock pipe for the lower half of the Cwm Gu scheme is joined together, dragged into position and trenched.

Full planning permission and licensing is granted for LGV’s MH-2 schemes, Gargwy Fach and Nant y Gadair.

Planning permission is refused for Blaen Dyar.

March 2015

Cwm Gu’s turbine house structure is now complete.

April 2015

The intake at Cwm Gu is now complete.

May 2015

Cwm Gu trenching work for the penstock pipe in the upper section is complete, the turbine is installed and the output electricity pole with transformer is in position.

June 2015

Electrics and meter are installed and the environmental improvements are complete at Cwm Gu. The construction of our Nant yr Hafod scheme is now well underway. The main excavation and rock cut back has been completed, all the pipework is on site and has been partly joined and concreting work has started. The turbine house slab was cast last week and the structure itself will be erected next month.

The official commissioning date for LGV MH-1’s Cwm Gu, is 23rd June 2015.

July 2015

The Gargwy Fach scheme is shelved due to a landowner withholding consent for the erection of a pole to export the electricity.

The planning application decision for the amended Blaen Dyar scheme is now expected on 31st July, and LGV has the necessary drainage consent.

Talks begin with the landowner of Abernant, near Builth Wells, regarding the feasibility of hydro.

August 2015

Revised application for Blaen Dyar receives planning permission.

The intake and turbine house are almost complete and all the penstock pipe is in place at Nant yr Hafod, and the DNO service cable is in place from the grid pole into the turbine house.

March 2016

A Partnership Agreement has been drawn up and signed to concrete our relationship with Welcome To Our Woods, our partners for the proposed Cwm Saebren (MH-2) hydro scheme.

August 2016

MH-1 receives its first FITs payment.

Nant yr Hafod is granted full FIT accreditation.

September 2016

LGV MH-1 and MH-2 are now supporting active micro hydro schemes at Cwm Gu and Nant yr Hafod and will develop a further three schemes during 2016/2017. Preliminary FIT accreditation for Abernant granted and the full accreditation application process has been started. Access arrangements and planning permission for Cwm Saebren has been secured from landowner, NRW.

October 2016

The landowner lease is being drawn up for the Cwm Saebren scheme, in liaison with NRW.

November 2016

LGV has signed the contracts and paid deposits to TGVH and the DNO for the Abernant scheme. Construction is scheduled to start in the summer of 2017.

December 2016

Our construction company TGVH is continuing to gauge the water flow at the intake of Cwm Gu, in preparation for applying to NRW for an adjustment to the HoF notch height, so that we can take more water from this stream.

LGV signs a wide ranging partnership agreement with Welcome to Our Woods (WtOW).

January 2017

We received confirmation from OFGEM this month of preliminary FIT registration for Cwm Saebren.

February 2017

TGVH now has sufficient flow data for Cwm Gu and has commissioned a hydrology company to write a report to support an application to NRW to raise the HoF notch.

The lease for Cwm Saebren has been completed and we will start building the scheme later this year.

LGV welcomes Leona Jones and Penny Hallas as HYDRO artists in residence.


March 2017

We had a couple of weeks of persistent rain at the beginning of the month and the power output at Cwm Gu reached close to maximum levels for the first time since February 2016.

Construction work at Blaen Dyar begins. For more news on the construction of Blaen Dyar, please sign up to our newsletter and visit our dedicated pages: Construction News and Artists in Residence.

A legal partnership is formed with Welcome to Our Woods (WtOW) to proceed with micro hydro at Cwm Saebren, Treherbert – planning permission is granted and leases are signed.

Construction orders for both the planned MH-2 micro hydro schemes, Cwm Saebren and Abernant, have been signed and deposits paid. Construction of both schemes should start within the next 6 months.

Our micro hydro partners

LGV and LGV Ventures are working in partnership with three other organisations:
• Sharenergy (sharenergy.coop) – a Shrewsbury-based co-operative that specialises in helping community groups set up renewable energy co-operatives. Sharenergy has provided development support for the Co-operative, is managing the administration of the Share Offer and will provide ongoing Member administration once Shares are issued.
• TGV Hydro (tgvhydro.co.uk) – a Brecon-Beacons based micro hydro supplier. The company has pioneered and championed the emerging micro hydro market in Wales and has built and run numerous similar schemes in the Brecon Beacons and other parts of Wales.
• Welcome to Our Woods (Facebook) – a community in the Upper Rhondda Fawr, South Wales Valleys, created to make local woodland more useful & relevant to the community and region. WTOW LTD is a not for profit social venture. The company has been created by the Cwm Saebren steering group to develop micro hydro projects.