North West Wales

Glyn Rhonwy quarry lake: Gwynedd power plan approved

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Media captionCouncillor Trefor Edwards said the scheme would bring at least 200 jobs

Controversial plans for a £100m mini hydroelectric power scheme on the edge of Snowdonia National Park have been backed by Gwynedd councillors.

There was a protest in the public gallery after the decision on the Glyn Rhonwy pump storage project was made.

The Snowdonia Society is concerned about its possible effects on wildlife, culture and heritage.

But developer Quarry Battery Company (QBC) said it was the "missing piece of the jigsaw for renewables".

The proposed pump storage scheme is based on the same principle as Dinorwig's First Hydro plant in Llanberis.

Water there is pumped uphill to a reservoir and then released back down through a turbine to generate electricity to sell on to suppliers.

Under the proposals, a dam will be built at the upper reservoir.

QBC managing director Dave Holmes said the project can help Britain "keep the lights on" and was environmentally more acceptable than another Dinorwig-sized facility.

He said: "Our scheme for the Glyn Rhonwy quarries is just the start.

"By putting small-scale storage near to centres of energy generation such as wind farms, and others near centres of heavy consumption such as major cities, we will cut down on distribution losses and network transmission costs, making whole regions of the UK increasingly self-sufficient in renewable electricity.

"Not only will pumped storage smooth out the supply of electricity, but it will enable conventional power stations to be stood down, rather than kept on standby to fill gaps in generation.

"This will save further costs and carbon emissions."

The Snowdonia Society has said it was concerned about the effects of construction.

The society is also concerned about how the scheme will be connected to the national grid, fearing that extra pylons would have to be built.

The Open Spaces Society had added its objection, claiming the scheme would encroach on common land and be an eyesore.

It previously said the applicant needed to be aware that it could not develop common land unless it offered land in exchange.

The site has previously been the subject of planning applications for schemes ranging from a large ski dome to a mountain biking centre.

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