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River Taff hydro-electric scheme to power up to 550 homes

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A £2.6m hydro-electric scheme to generate power from the River Taff in Radyr is set to begin.

The scheme at Radyr Weir, which starts next month and is due to be fully operational by April 2016, will generate enough electricity to power up to 550 homes.

The site, designed by Locogen and Mann Power Consulting, will raise £140,000 per year for Cardiff Council who will transfer the power into the electricity grid.

Two Archimedes Screw Turbines will be located at the weir, a site that was originally constructed to divert water into an artificial watercourse to the Melingriffith tin plate works.

During the 18th century, water drawn from the River Taff at Radyr Weir was used to power the local tin mills.

By constructing the hydro-electric scheme in the same location, the river will be used to generate power once again.

A channel will be built alongside the River Taff to enable the scheme to function successfully. This will allow water to pass down through the turbines and produce electricity. The water will then be returned to the river in order to be re-used.

Residents will also benefit from the development of a picnic area surrounding the river. This will provide people with an area to relax and will feature information boards to educate people about the hydroelectric system.

Radyr Councillor Roderick McKerlich said: “In every way, this is a marvellous project. Firstly it generates electricity without the burning of carbon and by using natural energy which makes a good return on the capital employed. Then it will help preserve fish stocks and allow us to see the fish travelling upstream.

“Finally the picnic area and display boards will create a superb leisure and educational resource. I hope that this is a complete success laying the foundation for similar schemes on other weirs located in Cardiff.”

The weir project will form part of Cardiff’s aim to be a ‘One Planet City’ by 2050. The ‘One Planet’ aim involves consuming resources and generating carbon dioxide equivalent to those contained in one planet Earth.

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