/ NEWS: Llanberis - Power Plant Proposal

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UKC News - on 30 Nov 2012
The village of Llanberis, sat below the slopes of Moel Elio. Taken from above Vivian Quarry, 3 kbA planning application has been submitted for a new pumped storage power station at the Glynrhonwy slate quarries at Llanberis.

It would create new reservoirs, a major pipeline and the permanent flooding of some disused quarry sites that contain climbing routes...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67643

JimboWizbo - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: But where will we practice our graffiti?
Mike Peacock on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: This has been on the cards for a while. The company website is here for those interested:
http://www.quarrybatterycompany.com/glyn-rhonwy.html
Lukem6 - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:

There is two sides to this, one is the creation of jobs for locals and the extra income of all local facilities.

With that said I do feel that the complete destruction of our recreational venues could be reconsidered and maybe other proposals considering the design of the damns and maybe their locations should be proposed.

Either way I think the people who matter most, more than us climbers, is the locals. If they decide they need more industry with reach of their homes. so be it. By the same note if they don't want it then I think that is something we would all agree on.
Sambo - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: I am in agreement with the post above, although it would be sad to see some slate routes dissapear under water, inward investment into North Wales is deperatly needed to help the local economy.

Arguably this project is the re-use of an old industrial site and the planning will beviewed very differently than say a new hydro scheme in an existing valley that is used for agriculture etc.

This is not a climbers issue, this is a local issue and the focus of the debate should be with the local community, I hope UKC user respect that
a lakeland climber on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Sambo:

So this is why the proposed dry ski slope development was rejected? ;-)

ALC
Simon Caldwell - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Not sure that the affect on climbing will carry much weight given that we're trespassing in any case.

The prospect of big pylons is of more concern surely?
Franco Cookson on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Sambo: Of course it's an issue for climbers! Having said that, climbers should have a very small influence over what happens on this site. Beyond even concerns about the lack of industry in north wales, what's also important is that the UK is moving towards renewable energy sources. I'd consider flooding the rainbow slab if there was a credible argument that it would provide a decent wadge of the power we use here in the UK.

I condone the BMC's objection to this plan, as long as the Pylons aren't blasting over the pass or something.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Looking forward to the first slate DWS venue.
metal arms on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Looking forward to the first slate DWS venue.

Second. DWS in Vivian. Bathtime wall.
jkarran - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:

It's a pretty modest plan but we do need grid scale energy storage.
jk
Irk the Purist - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson:

It's not renewable.

mrchewy - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle: There's already DWS slate if you know where to look. Try looking at the wikis.
FrJ on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:

What about new possibilities of UWS? (Under Water Solo?)????
Alex1 - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Eric the Red:
> (In reply to Franco Cookson)
>
> It's not renewable.

Energy storage is a key part of a renewable power grid (store energy when the wind blows/sun shines) and release it later as required.
oli bon-jon - on 30 Nov 2012
Interesting viewing on the quarry battery website... North wales does need development that is positive. The main sticking point for me being that this potential employer may not use local labour. This should be the key factor in the planning, development and future of this site. It would be tragic that this gets the go ahead and does not directly benefit the local populations employment needs.

A quick look on companies house reveals that the main chaps behind this development seem to be in the city of london.

http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/
jalien on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Hear hear, good to see some balanced comments considering the wider issues of benefits to the region and the country, not just focussing on the negatives to climbers who like to use the area.

I assume you meant you *don't* condone the BMC's objection to the plan?
Franco Cookson on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to jalien: I actually meant "deplore", but I was in the middle of writing an essay and my mind was frazzled.
Up High on 30 Nov 2012
A very important point is this: The proposed power station would have a maximum output of 49.9Mw - which brings it in just under the capacity required for the application to be automatically determined by the National Infrastructure Planning Commission. This means that the application could be decided on by the local Gwynedd councillors within the next four weeks.
I cant help thinking the application has been submitted just prior to Christmas to minimise the opportunity for people to object etc, there trying to sneak it in under the radar!.
It needs a longer period of consideration as the issues are complex.
abarro81 - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Up High:
Nice copy and paste.

I've not read the proposal, the pdf was large enough to make my laptop struggle, but in principle I support the extension of pumped hydro and thus - whilst I agree that grid connections should be considered - hope that the BMC will not eventually oppose this and similar developments.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Gob_Stopper on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: In defence of the BMC they are there to represent the interest of climbers and walkers, not the local people and so they should definitely be putting these views across. Thus you would expect them at the very least to express concerns, even if they can see that on balance the development may be a good thing.

I live just down the road and definitely think that any investment or employment potential has to be grasped with both hands, but how many jobs this will create in reality and at what cost is something to be weighed. Don't forget that tourism brings A LOT to the area, and anything that could jeopardise this (i.e. pylons) should be avoided like the plague!
climb the peak - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: It really annoys me how people get so worked up about projects like this. Weather we like it or not, we need more energy, there are always going to be objection. I've climbed a couple of times in llanberis and the slate quaries and am angered by the fact that i may not be able to in the future, but come on seriously, would you rather not have enough energy to use the computer on at the moment?
Dave Musgrove Jnr on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to climb the peak: I'd much rather have intact crags to climb on than enough energy to power my computer, I spend too much time on it anyway.

However I also fully support this proposal. Pumped storage isn't renewable, in fact it's not really energy generation at all. What is does is store surplus energy from baseload (nuclear) stations that are running above demand at night (cos they're harder to fine tune) so that we have a quick release option for when demand surges unexpectedly at peak times. It means that you can leave a smaller margin between generation and demand at peak times and so generally waste less energy.

The slate quarries are an industrial landscape anyway (however cool the climbing is) and it'll be interesting to see these changes.
ORice on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Dave Musgrove Jnr: Isn't renewable? you sure? Where is the burning of fossil fuels? where is the substance that can't be reused?

Its a hydro scheme, therefore, renewable. It just uses surplus power that would go otherwise wasted and then provides more than what it takes up in either one quick blast when everyone switches the kettle on after watching Corrie, or a slow release to provide more energy to the system.

Both of which are admirable given the need to shut down the old gas and coal power stations and to help back up the ancient infrustucture that exsists. Personally I would like to see a switch to hydro, forget wind its highly ineffective, can't cope with anything above a good gale and so unpopular it makes David Cameron look like a saint. We are a nation famed for water, as an island or down to how much it rains, we should make use of all the unused quarries and little streams that can provide electricity for areas on a smaller scale, Highlands of Scotland being a key area.

In terms of climbing, loosing routes would never be anyones ideal, but at the end of the day the project would be a welcome boost to the local economy. Throw in the tresspassing argument and climbers do have a weak voice, whether some areas might be saved or access to given to other areas to the site in lew of the loss of other areas may be a sensible solution for everyone.

As a note, I don't think they are sneaking it in as it was submitted back in September, or at least thats when I heard about it, I think its taken a while to be processed and peoples attention being brought to it.
Dave Ferguson - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:
A little perspective for those who may not know the area well. The routes that may be affected are those in the Gideon quarries: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=640
As a Llanberis local for 12 years in the late 80's and 90's I only ever did 2 routes here, it really will be no loss to have these quarries flooded.
tistimetogo on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to ORice:

In reply to ORice:

Suggest you reread. It is pumped storage.

I work with mains boosters and SR pumps I assure you that they run off electricity. This sort of system makes better use of off peak tariffs and requires a more consistent electricity supply but it is not renewable.
itsThere on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to Dave Ferguson: for the locals would it not be better to push for more, say not limited at a maximum output of 49.9Mw(as said above i didnt read the PDF yet). If they are going to do it why not push for more. what if the output is not limited by the area flooded but limited to avoid planning permission.

also the fact that the transmission is still undecided is that not a bit of a concern. or so the BMC say.
Epic Ebdon - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:

This sounds like a great idea.

Of course, noone wants to lose our play area, but a few routes seems a small price to pay for a scheme that is otherwise positive in terms of the environment and the local economy.

To those who are debating whether it is renewable energy or not:

Pumped water storage power stations are not in themselves renewable. They use (surplus) electrical energy to pump water uphill to a lake, and then let it back out when required to produce electricity when demand is higher. Of course if there happens to be a stream leading to the upper storage lake, or if it rains (not unheard of in North Wales) then the water that enters the storage lake through these mechanisms IS renewable; these are, however, usually provide a negligible amount of energy.

So, whilst not in themselves renewable sources, energy storage schemes such as these are crucial for almost every weather dependant source of renewable energy (wind, wave, solar etc.). The biggest problem we have with renewables is not being able to produce enough energy, but being able to reliably produce enough, and to be able to produce when we need it. You can't turn the wind or sun on and off at will. Without schemes like these, we'll end up wasting energy when we have excess capacity, and not having enough when we need it.

I say, it's a shame to lose the routes, but build it.

Tim
In reply to UKC News: on a positive - the routes won't get polished so the day they drain the reservoir you could climb on Gideon like it was back in the year 2012!
Ewan Russell - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:
My personal perspective is that there are a number of routes in the glyn rhonwy quarries that I would desire to at least check out and maybe climb. Bit of an awkward one as I do believe a mixed energy soloution is the correct approch to our national engery supply (assuming we can't get nuclear power to be more popular) and I despise the NIMBY approach to renewable energy that we see across the country.
Having not looked in to in massive detail(yet) I hope the bmc is approaching with opposition. Every time we lose a climbing area it is a real shame and I can't help but feel if an area of this quality was in another place in England or Mid/south wales it would be considered a major local venue.
Need to read up about it a bit more than just 10 minutes on my lunch break
Neil Adams - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News: This is good news. We need many more facilities like this if the grid is to cope with the likely changes in generation mix over the coming years, and there are few sites with the suitable geography and infrastructure. The BMC response puts the interests of a tiny minority (i.e. us) above the interests of the rest of the country, which I think is wrong. I'll be contacting them to say that.
Tom Last - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Neil Adams:

Hey Neil, hope you're well mate, looking forward to winter?

I have to disagree. As somebody said above the BMC are there to represent the interests of climbers and walkers and as such, I'd expect them to object to this at the outset.

It's unrealistic for them to canvass opinion of members and British climbers for every proposed ddevelopment. So whilst I'm another BMC member fully in favour of this development - assuming it will be benificial to the local economy and to the grid - and applaud your decision To contact the BMC, I'm happy that the BMC just get on with the job of protecting our minority interests without us having to ask.
Franco Cookson on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Southern Man: I get where you're coming from with this, but surely there's a danger of losing credibility if the default response from the BMC for any development in scenic areas where climbing takes place is objection?
Tom Last - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Hi Franco.

Likewise I see your point, but surely the alternative is to lose credibility by sitting on the fence when these issues arise as it's unlikely that they'll come down strongly in favour?

Where do they draw the line as to what is acceptable development and what isn't in the eyes of those that they represent.

Tricky one right enough.
Pagan - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Southern Man:

> Where do they draw the line as to what is acceptable development and what isn't in the eyes of those that they represent.

I think the general tone of the responses on these threads gives a good indicator - Franco's absolutely right; if the BMC starts leaping to protect the most insignificant venues (like Glyn Rhonwy - hands up who's actually climbed there?) then climbers are just going to start looking like a bunch of hysterical, rather precious idiots which could do our access battles far more damage in the long run.
Pagan - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Ewan Russell:

> I despise the NIMBY approach to renewable energy that we see across the country.
> Having not looked in to in massive detail(yet) I hope the bmc is approaching with opposition. Every time we lose a climbing area it is a real shame

Priceless. You couldn't make it up.

> I can't help but feel if an area of this quality was in another place in England or Mid/south wales it would be considered a major local venue.

I can't help but feel you're completely wrong (well, maybe not mid Wales eh?) but let's not allow objectivity and rational judgement to get in the way...
abarro81 - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Franco Cookson:
For once I agree with Franco
mb35 - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Would it tie in to the existing power lines from Dinorwic to the National grid? I imagine they would use Pylons - arguing undeground cables is too expensive. I think the impact of the Pylons on the landscape/tourist industry could be the biggest issue.
Richard Wilson - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to mb35:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> Would it tie in to the existing power lines from Dinorwic to the National grid?



I think the Dinorwic cables are already at full capacity.
Matt Bill Platypus - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News: As a climber I feel it would be a shame to lose the first route climbed on slate, but not necessarily a shame to lose a climbing area if it is for the benefit of others / locals / the nation.

As someone who enjoys being outdoors and enjoys the beauty of the natural landscape I am opposed to new pylons, 50m high pumping stations, etc.

We can't always undertake building works, etc, because it will benefit the local community. What if each of the locals had been offered 20,000 to agree to the plan? Then their view is skewed. I am not saying they have been, but you get the point I hope.

On the face of it it seems to me that the 49.9MW figure has been calculated so that it purposefully brings it just under the capacity required for the application to be automatically determined by the National Infrastructure Planning Commission, as has already been mentioned.

I do not agree that we NEED more energy. We only NEED more energy if we want to continue using more energy. Humans can live perfectly well without laptops, cameras, mobile phones, TVs, DVD players. It is our greed for all these things that pushes us (and then the electricity companies) to require more energy. I am also getting extremely fed up with the thousands of wind turbines popping up all over the countryside. At first they seemed like a good idea and when there is just one or two they are (almost) OK. But there are now swathes of them across the country, in some of the most beautiful ladscapes. Once Britain was covered in forest. Soon it will be covered in a forest of wind turbines, which kind of defeats the point of them being 'green'!

Anyway, I have had a quick look on the government e-petitions site and I can not see a petition on there for this scheme. I am not sure if it applies to Wales anyway. Does anyone know about this?
eugeneth - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to oli bon-jon: this doesn't surprise me at all. While North Wales is being targeted by the gov for developments in renewable energy schemes (allegedly to promote business and development of the Welsh economy)very few of the companies behind the developments are Welsh.

Take a look at the Rhiannon wind farm proposal for the Irish sea just north of Anglesey. 440 wind turbines being put in by DONG energy (london based company), many of the sub-contractors for this program are English. I think investment should be made into companies that are bale to carry out the work in Wales if the economy is to develop. Maybe the problem here is that there are not enough Welsh companies able to carry out the ground work.

I imagine this is the same situation with the development of the hydro storage scheme in beris. Its all coming down to who has the money and are the best people to carry out the job.
Ben1983 - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

But this isn't really about new electricity production - it is about making better use of what we have, storing energy when we are using less, and about creating a grid flexible enough to cope with intermittent renewable energy sources. At present, pumping water uphill is by far the most efficient method - and some current plans for Europe are seeing the Alps as a vast rechargable battery. As mountaineers, we may have to face up to losing some landscapes to reservoirs; a slate quarry is an excellent solution.

Forest landscapes - well, yes, but humans arrived with the trees and immediately started chopping them down. The last ice age meant that there was no UK nature sans humans, and many of our most prized landscapes are those that have been cleared of trees the longest. What we have in the UK is an entirely human-altered landscape, and whilst I'm happy to keep it all looking as nice as possible, there simply hasn't been a past that we can realistically go back to in which the landscape was a static object. Less energy use is clearly a part of the solution, but so, I think, are schemes like this one.
jkarran - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Matt Bill Platypus:

> As someone who enjoys being outdoors and enjoys the beauty of the natural landscape I am opposed to new pylons, 50m high pumping stations, etc.

The Dinorwic plant across the valley surely demonstrates this can be done relatively sensitively.

> On the face of it it seems to me that the 49.9MW figure has been calculated so that it purposefully brings it just under the capacity required for the application to be automatically determined by the National Infrastructure Planning Commission, as has already been mentioned.

I'm quite sure it has. What's wrong with that?

> I do not agree that we NEED more energy. We only NEED more energy if we want to continue using more energy. Humans can live perfectly well without laptops, cameras, mobile phones, TVs, DVD players. It is our greed for all these things that pushes us (and then the electricity companies) to require more energy.

We do NEED more electrical power, not just for our gadgets (I presume it's other people that should give up their computers and phones, not you and I) but for cleaner transport and more efficient heating.

We also need to invest in replacing and modernising old generating facilities, something that has been rather neglected for decades.

Not that this is power generation, this is energy storage, in itself an essential part of making a more flexible, more diverse, more robust grid work efficiently.

> I am also getting extremely fed up with the thousands of wind turbines popping up all over the countryside. At first they seemed like a good idea and when there is just one or two they are (almost) OK. But there are now swathes of them across the country, in some of the most beautiful ladscapes. Once Britain was covered in forest. Soon it will be covered in a forest of wind turbines, which kind of defeats the point of them being 'green'!

What alternative do you propose?
jk
Jimbo C - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to Matt Bill Platypus)
>
> We do NEED more electrical power .... for cleaner transport and more efficient heating.
>

Just to be pedantic, electric heating is far less efficient than heating powered by primary energy due to the losses involved in generating the electricity and distibuting it. I do see your point that the push towards generating renewable electricity instead of burning stuff will increase demand for electricity.

the real need for more energy is caused by our economic model which requires continual growth in order to be viable. Some would say that this is not sustainable (and they're probably right) but nobody has yet come up with and implemented a good alternative.
jkarran - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo C:

> Just to be pedantic, electric heating is far less efficient than heating powered by primary energy due to the losses involved in generating the electricity and distibuting it.

Just to be doubly pedantic electrically driven heat pumps are much more efficient than simply burning gas for heat.

> the real need for more energy is caused by our economic model which requires continual growth in order to be viable. Some would say that this is not sustainable (and they're probably right) but nobody has yet come up with and implemented a good alternative.

I don't expect anyone will.
jk
Ewan Russell - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Pagan:
Im confused by your comments as you havent really elaborated. I was trying to identfy my own personal mixed emotions on the issue and how it was to some extent a personal contradiction. I think you have identfied what I was trying to say and then said those comments which I think are ill informed as I had identfied this personal contradiction.
I was also trying to identfy however badly that I think the bmc should intially register opposition however but as part of a wider soloution be willing to write it off.
On the quality of the routes front. I can't tell but I assume that if your willing to write off this area you have climbed within the area?(I assume that everyone who is on here saying they should use it for this purpose has done this?) At least failing that have read the new guidebook and decided they look of poor quality. Admitally I have only done the latter and walked around once but personally I would say there are a number of areas in the U.K which have a good reputation which dont have routes that appear to be of that quality. Im willing to admit I may be wrong.
After a bit more thought I actually feel that we should be more strongly opposed to this than a windfarms. Typically our views spoiled by windfarms are already non natural filled with sheep, human constructions and lacking in natural vegetation(not just limited to forests). However in this case we have a fantastic resource that we will lose if its filled in.
For instance in Dali's hole they cut most of the old ghost trees down for the filming of clash of the titans. This was a shame as it was an amazing bit of non-natural landscape but ultimatley all the climbs were still there from a recreation point of view it was unchanged.
Whats more important being able to practise the sport or being able to look at the envrionment?
Epic Ebdon - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to jkarran:

> Just to be doubly pedantic electrically driven heat pumps are much more efficient than simply burning gas for heat.

And to be triply pedantic, that really does depend on the heat pump, how they are used, and the weather. No heat pump is more efficient than gas all the time.

The point is though, if we manage to get to a point where we can produce plenty of green electricity, then obviously a heat pump is better than a normal resistance heater.

Tim


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