Happy New Year

Or ‘cos I’m a proud Welshman

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

In sympathy with December being the month with the fewest number of daylight hours, this newsletter is also one of the shortest and gives my poor old fingers a much-needed rest from all the typing!

However, fingers are awake enough to give:

 A Big Thank you to all the Volunteers

Whether you have got involved with overall site work, wiring, woodworking, cladding, ongoing trash cleaning, farmers field stone clearing, control system evolution, documentation preparation and consolidation, the Education programme or the massive Re-Wilding ground preparation and planting programme, you have collectively helped bring the Hydro Scheme to fruition. We are sure other schemes look with envy at your willing enthusiasm. We hope you have enjoyed helping, together with meeting new people and making new friends and acquaintances. Again: Thank You

Just a few words and photos however to reflect on some of the work that has been going on during this dark winter month.

Couple of Ash trees (suffering from die back and a future threat to the boardwalk) have been removed. (In line with the original tree removal plan with the planning approvals).

You will have (if you’ve been reading them!!) seen in previous newsletters that we filled in the construction access roadway with the spoil generated by the various aspects of construction. Having started the programme to return the site to nature, the rewilding team decided that the spoil needed a lot of destoning (and rucks of building debris removed), drainage channels constructing and a better “contouring”. Full of optimism !!, this work was started by hand, but dissolution rapidly set in, and the services of a digger team were secured. This brought into focus the structural integrity of the boardwalk (we designed it for a 2-tonne tracked digger). Some illustrations below that capture these activities.


Cutting trees down on site
Boardwalk with digger
Rewildering on site
Re-wild the site

Operating and maintaining the hydro system for optimum performance and “up time” is key to generating income –to honour investor commitments and of course to achieve the overall objective of generating annual surpluses to help fund Community Environmental and Sustainability Projects. Whilst you can’t really beat being on site, seeing, hearing and feeling the beating heart of the system, we have a substantial suite of data that we can remotely monitor via our mobile phones.

A snapshot of some of this data is shown below for the end of 2021 i.e., New Year’s Eve.

Power generated by Congleton Hydro
Congleton Hydro Controls

Snapshot of actual power and Archie’s speed

(Note small power fluctuations over time- this tends to happen at high river water levels, next year we will do some control system tweaks to smooth this)

Congleton Hydro Controls
Power control system

Snapshot of status of various actuators and values of core parameters e.g. gearbox temperature, vibration levels of Archie’s bearings etc 

“Real Time Update”

The cumulative power generated at the time of writing (Jan 6th).

(we’ve enjoyed a consistent water flow during this first week of the new year)

You will recall from last months newsletter that we had a visit from the Environment Agency Inspector—Mr Valdis Anspoks. This was to check our compliance with the various aspects of their consents and licences. We recently received the formal report of this visit, and we are pleased to report that Valdis found all to his satisfaction and no additional requirements/ information is required.

We hope you have found this short update on Congleton Hydro to informative and of interest. We would appreciate your comments and feedback.

 Normal service will resume next month when we cover some of the aspects of the maintenance and servicing of the overall system and will touch on what we have had to do to ensure we Comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive, EN 60204-1.

Once again, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!! , stay safe and lets all hope 2022 brings better tidings.

 Best wishes from all at Congleton Hydro