Keeping it in the family
Bulb has been buying power from Tyn Y Cornel since we started in 2015. But the history doesn’t stop there. Tegwyn Jones is the third generation of owners of this hydro plant. His grandfather built a hydro scheme at Tyn Y Cornel back in the 1920s. Tegwyn has passed his knowledge on to his own sons, and hopes water power will continue to run in the family for many more generations to come.
One hundred years in the making
On our visit, Tegwyn showed us the wooden Pelton Wheel his grandfather whittled by hand. This was used as a prototype to help the local blacksmith to make the real thing. It’s incredible to think the turbines at Tyn Y Cornel today are modelled from this same design.
Locations don’t come much more beautiful than Tyn Y Cornel. Nestled between Snowdonia National Park and the Powys border, the area is perfect for hydro generation: steep slopes and lots of rain.
What’s so special about Tyn Y Cornel is you’d never know it was there. On passing, it looks like two waterfalls tumbling down from the hills. The Jones family worked hard to make sure they didn’t disrupt the surroundings. They buried the pipe lines underneath natural heather tracks and they used locally-sourced, natural materials for the shed, which houses the generator at the bottom of the stream.
“Clean electricity is the future”
Hydro plants last for around 100 years and need very little maintenance. They’re a great way to make renewable electricity. But through decades working on the farm, Tegwyn has noticed the effects the changing climate has had on the local area.
Warmer winters are increasing the number of heather beetles. These damage the outer leaves of heather plants, leaving them susceptible to drought in the increasingly warm summer months. But healthy heather locks in moisture, keeping the ground wet, which is important for hydro generation. Heather provides food for grazing animals and is popular with the bees too, which are vital for a healthy environment.
The changing land reminds us that it’s more important now than ever to continue generating renewable electricity. Tegwyn believes “clean electricity is the future” and we couldn’t agree more.
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