Welcome to Talybont-on-Usk Energy

March 9, 2010

From July 1st 2010, Talybont Energy has combined its blog and website here: www.talybontenergy.co.uk

Please visit our new site. This one will no longer be updated.


Temporary Turbine Troubles

June 16, 2010

Our Talybont turbine has been running like clockwork (well actually more like a turbine) for the past 2 plus years but the past few weeks, we have experienced some unexpected drop outs with the system recording over heated generator bearings.

Then, last week a more alarming problem arose where the turbine was apparently turning but recording no power generation.

No turbine, no income – that always concentrates the mind!

Fortunately, Kester Salisbury kindly paid our turbine a visit on Saturday on his way from Cornwall to fix a hydro scheme in North Wales and he successfully (it appears) diagnosed and fixed both problems. The former, it seems, might have been the result of over frequent greasing of the bearings. The latter seems to have been the result of the engineer who switches us to our summer compensation flow turning the external valve down to a trickle thus still turning the turbine but with little power.

All now seems to be well and Kester has been booked in to give us an annual mechanical check up. The learning journey continues….

In which Mr Chips goes on Holiday…

June 5, 2010

On Sunday 17th May Mr Chips left his safe haven in Henderson Hall, Talybont-on-Usk and made his way ever northwards to the highlands of Scotland. On this journey, he was subjected to several stops in motorway service stations for his passengers to relieve themselves. Unanimously the best of these was Tebay services on the M6 near the Lake District. It even has a duck pond and a farm shop!

Once in Scotland Mr Chips had a rest for 4 days on a delightful farm north of Glasgow, before making his way even further northwards alongside Loch Lomond and up up up past Ben Nevis to Fort William to pick up the tired and footsore walkers from the end of the West Highland Way.

Back in Glasgow he was replenished in the delightfully named Apple Fuels. 100% Biodiesel and only 92p per litre. The journey home was tedious but would have been much worse in our tiny car so a HUGE Thank you to Mr Chips, who made it back     -600 miles back to Talybont on a full tank. Pretty sure that would take some beating!

Talybont Energy AGM

June 4, 2010

Talybont Energy recently held the AGM where the formal business of the group was conducted. The current board of directors all re-stood and a new member of the board of Directors was voted on. The board of Directors includes:
Mike Bugler (Chair), Nigel Forster (Vice Chair), Barbara Anglezarke (Secretary),  Lyn Bugler (Treasurer), Alison Kidd, Peter Williams, Hilary Williams, David Brockwell and Michael Wright.  We are hoping to create a Directors’ profile page on the website shortly, so information on the directors will be included then.

Following the AGM, Andy Bull, Head of SWEA Cymru Severn Wye Energy did a good presentation on Solar and PV panels and the impact of Feed in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Update on the work of Talybont Energy

June 4, 2010

A new website approaches!  The first glimpses of the new site have been seen and it’s looking good.  It will be at the same address (www.talybontenergy.co.uk) the look and feel of it will be very different, as the group wants a much more interactive and energetic window on our work.

Changes in the groups membership fee have been introduced and the previous fee of £1 a year has now been condensed to £5 for 5 years – bargain!

A members days is planned for Saturday September the 4th where Talybont Energy members will be able to visit the turbine, drive the electric car and take part in discussions about the future work of the group.  More information will follow but if you have ideas or feedback on this (or anything), let us know.

May – Car Project Progress

June 2, 2010

The two zero carbon project cars (electric Bluebell and biodiesel Mr Chips) have now travelled a total of 8145 miles between them replacing miles travelled by our own petrol or diesel cars and saving a total of 2.8 tonnes of carbon since the project started in February. For some reason our usage level has dropped this month, we are not sure why. Our carbon savings for May were the lowest since the project started in February. Hopefully, usage will pick up again – Mr Chips certainly has a few long trips booked in for the summer months.

Bluebell has been branching out this month – bored with trolling in and out of Brecon, she’s been broadening her horizons –  Abergavenny, Crickhowell and, most recently, Hay-on-Wye for the Hay Festival (see earlier post on this topic). It’s interesting to take her further afield and face the challenges of finding how and where to recharge an electric car. Not easy.

Similarly, Mr Chips made his longest trip yet – to Scotland and back for a 10 day trip carrying 4 people. This involved finding a source of biodiesel in Glasgow and arranging to fill him up there.

In both cases, one feels very much the pioneer with eco-motoring. The gap between the hype and reality is quite marked.

Bluebell has also been busy starring at various events: the Presteigne bike rally, the Abergavenny Steam Fair and the World Environment Day in Brecon – she is preparing herself right now for an interview and photo call with the Brecon & Radnor Express tomorrow morning. Fortunately, she takes it all in her stride.

Bluebell visits the Hay Festival

June 2, 2010

Bluebell made her longest ever trip yet to the Hay Festival on Sunday morning (19 miles each way by the back roads) with 3 aboard. We had emailed in advance to ask if we could charge her and a helpful Andy Fryers (“Mr Green” of the Festival) explained that we were the first ever Hay visitors to make this request but he would sort us out.

Fortunately, we arrived about 40 minutes before our ticketed session because the security staff on the parking sites were friendly but bewildered by our need for a charging point. After about 30 minutes of scootering around the site, we eventually were provided with a place where Bluebell could park and a long extension lead. We stupidly had neglected to bring along one of our own. (Safety note for long distance Bluebell adventurers).  The above photo of is Bluebell happily recharging behind the portaloos with our helpful Hay Festival steward in attendance.

The experience brought home to us that, for all the talk of electric vehicles, there is still a real gap between hype and reality. We felt like real pioneers!

The good news? We parked for free and charged for free – Thank you Hay Festival!

We plan to return in Bluebell on Friday and see if repeating the exercise is any easier….

Actually, we think we *might* have made the round trip without recharging but it would have been a slow and alarmingly close run thing. Not recommended. In the 3 hours we were at the Festival, Bluebell recovered all her charge and we zoomed (in a Bluebell sense of zooming) home to Talybont.

Visitors to the Talybont Turbine – May 27th

May 28, 2010
Part of the Bridgend Community Group

Part of the Bridgend Community Group

The Environment Agency's Cardiff Water Permitting Team
The Environment Agency’s Cardiff Water Permitting Team

Local Groups visit the Turbine – the most people in the turbine house at one go?

May 28, 2010

The Friends of Taff Bargoed Park Community Group

The Friends of Taff Bargoed Park Community Group

Part of Bridgend Community Group

Today, another beautiful sunny day in the Beacons, the turbine has been on show to almost 40 people (a record I think), as three interested groups of people had ‘the turbine’ tour.  The three groups comprised some new members of the Environment Agency’s Cardiff Water Permitting team, a community group from Bridgend and also the Friends of Taff Bargoed Park group (see the pictures below).

Both the Bridgend and Bargoed (an area of Merthyr Tydfil) community groups are hoping to install a hydro turbine in their areas soon and used the visit as an opportunity to see a turbine in-situ as well as pick the brains of the Talybont Energy directors conducting the tour, Alison Kidd and Peter Williams.

Ecologist Article

May 17, 2010

Talybont Energy’s turbine and some of the community projects funded by the income it generates are mentioned in an article in The Ecologist.

The journalist, Paul Miles, stayed in the area for a few days and borrowed one of the Talybont Energy electric bikes to get up and down the hills.

A box full of trees

May 13, 2010

Here’s an intriguing idea…

A company in the US is impregnating cardboard boxes with seeds – you get your Internet shopping delivery in a cardboard box, tear up the cardboard, plant it, water it and tree seedlings will grow.

The Life Box company explain that within the corrugations of the cardboard box are hundreds of tree seeds and thousands of friendly spores of mycorrhizal fungi – if you want to know more about the role of the fungi, you have to watch the video with the CEO (dressed appropriately in a hat made out of mushrooms!) explaining it all! Once the customer has unpacked the goods, the box is torn up, planted and tree seedlings emerge.

The claim for the Life Box is “universality of use, it adds almost no weight to the box and it empowers individuals to offset climate change by planting trees.” What’s not to like? And what if Amazon took it on?….. there would certainly be small forest in our back garden by now….