Mae cornel fach o Wynedd wedi bod yn gwneud ei marc yn y byd ynni cymunedol dros y dair mlynedd ddiwethaf ac mae hynny’n bennaf oherwydd dycnwch gwirfoddolwyr sydd eisiau defnyddio ynni naturiol eu afonydd i greu dyfodol gwell i’w hardaloedd. Dyma yn gryno yw hanfod cynlluniau Ynni Padarn Peris dros y mynydd yn Llanbêr ac Ynni Anafon tua’r arfordir yn Abergwyngregyn. Dyna hefyd hanfod cynllun Ynni Ogwen – cynllun hydro cymunedol ym Methesda, Dyffryn Ogwen dwi wedi cael y fraint o weithio arni dros y dair mlynedd ddiwethaf.

Roedd Ynni Ogwen yn fabi i fenter gymdeithasol Partneriaeth Ogwen – mudiad sy’n datblygu prosiectau adfywio yn Nyffryn Ogwen a fy nghyflogwr i fel Prif Swyddog. Datblygu cynllun hydro Ogwen oedd un o brif brosiectau’r Bartneriaeth – gorchwyl gweddol syml feddyliech chi… 3 mlynedd i lawr y lein, dwi’n gallu dweud a llaw ar fy nghalon mai hwn yw un o’r prosiectau mwyaf heriol i mi erioed ymwneud a hi. Ar y llaw arall, mae’n brosiect sydd wedi rhoi boddhad mawr i fi a’r gwirfoddolwyr eraill.

Car Gwyllt

Car Gwyllt ydy’r enw ar gerbyd y chwarelwyr i wibio i lawr incleins y chwareli ac mae’n debyg fod taith mewn car gwyllt yn eithaf tebyg i’r profiad o ddatblygu cynllun hydro cymunedol ar brydiau! Mae rhywun wastad yn dal ei wynt achos mae ‘na rhyw newid polisi sy’n mynd i’ch taflu oddi ar y cledrau neu o leiaf eich dargyfeirio ar bob cornel o’r daith!

I dorri stori hir yn fyr, treuliasom dros flwyddyn yn braf yn trafod lleoliad ein cynllun hydro efo Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru – y corff sy’n rheoleiddio afonydd Cymru. Roedd sawl opsiwn ar y cardiau ond ar ôl comisiynu nifer o astudiaethau (pysgod, ystlumod a choed ac yn y blaen) a thrafod rhain efo CNC, fe’n dargyfeiriwyd a lleihawyd maint ein cynllun ni o’r 500kW arfaethedig i gynllun 100kW ar yr afon Ogwen ym Methesda. Yn ystod y cyfnod yma, daeth y newyddion syfrdanol o du Llywodraeth San Steffan fod y cymhorthdal Feed in Tariff yn cael ei dorri ddiwedd 2015. I nifer o grwpiau cymunedol fel ni ar draws Cymru, roedd hyn yn chwalu eu cynlluniau busnes. Yn lwcus i ni, roedd hyn yn doriad i’r rhagolygon ariannol ond ddim yn angheuol.

Wrth gwrs, mae’r uchod yn her sylweddol yn ei hun i unrhyw grŵp cymunedol sy’n datblygu cynllun hydro. Yn gyntaf, does gan y rhan fwyaf o grwpiau cymunedol ddim cronfa ariannol swmpus i dalu am yr holl astudiaethau angenrheidiol ac yn ail, does gan y rhan fwyaf o’r grwpiau ddim y capasiti yn eu mysg i ddehongli yr holl astudiaethau sy’n cael eu comisiynu. Yn achos Ynni Ogwen, bu’n rhaid i ni ymgeisio am sawl grant i’n helpu i ariannu’r cyfnod ‘cyn-caniatâd cynllunio/echdynnu’ yma a daeth y rhan helaeth o’r pres yna o du Llywodraeth Cymru.

Yn anffodus, gallwn dreulio oriau yn trafod yr anawsterau dirifedi ond taw pia hi dwi’n meddwl…. Yr oll allaf ddweud ydy nad yw’r frwydr byth drosodd ac mae her sylweddol arall yn ein wynebu ar hyn o bryd ar ffurf codiad aruthrol mewn trethi busnes…ond stori arall yw honno…

Egni Cymunedol

Yr hyn sydd wedi rhoi’r boddhad mwyaf i fi’n bersonol o fod yn ymwneud a’r cynllun yma ydy agor cynllun cyfranddaliadau cymunedol. Wedi derbyn ein caniatâd cynllunio a thrwydded i dynnu dŵr o’r afon, sefydlu Ynni Ogwen Cyf fel Cymdeithas Budd Cymunedol, cytuno’r cytundebau les gyda’r Tirfeddianwyr a llawer mwy o waith, roeddem yn barod i agor cynllun cyfranddaliadau cymunedol. Rhyw ffurf o ariannu torfol oedd hwn oedd yn rhoi cyfle i bobl fuddsoddi yng nghynllun Ynni Ogwen Cyf trwy brynu cyfranddaliadau. Mewn cwta ddeufis, roedd gwerth £459,600 o gyfranddaliadau wedi eu prynu gyda 85% o’r buddsoddwyr hynny yn hanu o’r ardal. Roedd yn golygu fod holl gostau adeiladu’r cynllun hydro yn cael ei ariannu heb fynd at fanc masnachol am fenthyciad. Mae hyn yn swm aruthrol i ardal fel Dyffryn Ogwen ac yn destun balchder mawr i ni. Yn bwysicach, roedd yn golygu fod cynllun Ynni Ogwen yn gynllun cymunedol yng ngwir ystyr y gair – egni pobl leol aeth fewn i’w greu, arian pobl leol sydd wedi ei wireddu a phobl leol fydd yn elwa ar yr elw cymunedol fydd yn cael ei greu. Yn ogystal a hynny, llwyddasom i gyflogi pobl leol ar hyd y daith gyda chontractwyr o Wynedd a rheolwr prosiect o Fethesda. Rydym yn credu’n gryf yng ngwreiddiau cymunedol Ynni Ogwen ac mae rhaeadru’r holl fudd yn ôl i’r Dyffryn yn greiddiol i ni. Dyma’r rheswm mae’n debyg i ni ddod a thlws ‘Ymgysylltu Cymunedol’ Gwobrau Renewables UK Cymru yn ôl i Ddyffryn Ogwen yn 2016.

Mae’n braf dweud fod y cynllun hydro yn awr wedi ei adeiladu ac rydym yn cynhyrchu trydan glan a chynaliadwy yn Nyffryn Ogwen! Yn ogystal a’r egni hydro, mae’r egni pobol yn aruthrol a mae cydweithio efo’r gwirfoddolwyr ar y Bwrdd ac eraill wedi bod yn agoriad llygad. Mae miloedd o oriau gwirfoddolwyr wedi mynd i mewn i ddatblygu’r cynllun. Gwirfoddolwyr sydd hefyd yn awr yn goruchwylio gweithrediad y cynllun trwy ymweld a’r safle a gweinyddu’r cynllun.

Caseg Eira

Ers datblygu cynllun Ynni Ogwen, mae mwy a mwy o gynlluniau cynaladwyedd ar waith yn Nyffryn Ogwen. I raddau, dwi’n gweld y cynllun fel catalydd neu gaseg eira sy’n esgor ar lot o brosiectau cyffrous. Ers dros flwyddyn, dwi wedi bod yn rhan o beilot Cyd Ynni – Ynni Lleol sy’n edrych ar ddulliau arloesol o ddefnyddio trydan hydro lleol o fewn cymunedau. Hynny yw, dim jesd allforio trydan i bedwar ban byd, ond ei ddefnyddio yn ein cymunedau am bris gostyngol. Mae tua 100 o gartrefi lleol yn Nyffryn Ogwen bellach yn rhan o’r cynllun yma sy’n helpu trigolion i gael trydan rhatach. Mae’r cant hefyd yn buddio o asesiadau effeithlonrwydd o’u cartrefi a digwyddiadau cymunedol fel Ffair Effeithlonrwydd Ynni a theithiau tywys i’r cynllun hydro. Mae’r prosiect yn dod a pobl at ei gilydd i drin a thrafod cynaladwyedd a gall hynny ond bod yn beth da.

Tu hwnt i Ddyffryn Ogwen, dwi hefyd yn gweithio ar y cyd efo’n ffrindiau dros y mynydd yn Llanberis ac Abergwyngregyn. Yn amlach na pheidio i rannu ceisiadau grant neu drafod lobio ond yn fwy diweddar hefyd, i drafod tyfu cymunedol, nofelau graffig am ynni cymunedol, ceir trydan a llawer mwy! Mae’r gaseg eira yn tyfu!

Babi’r chwyldro

A rŵan dwi ar gyfnod mamolaeth, adra efo’r plant yn gwirioni ar Eiri Gwyn – sy’n lwmpan 4 mis oed o lawenydd. A dyna i raddau pam dwi’n gneud hyn oll a pham dwi’n ymroi fewn i brosiectau cymunedol fel hyn. Prosiectau sydd wirioneddol yn amcanu i greu dyfodol gwell i’n plant. A dyna’r neges i unrhyw un sy’n darllen mae’n debyg – er yr anawsterau, mae bod yn rhan o gynllun ynni cymunedol yn werthfawr ar sawl lefel. Dim cwmnïau trydan yda ni, ond cymdeithasau budd cymunedol sy’n gweithredu yn gynaliadwy er budd ein amgylchedd, ein pobol, ein plant a’n dyfodol.


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A small corner of Gwynedd has been making an impact on the community energy world over the past three years, and that’s mainly because of the determination of volunteers that wish to use natural energy from rivers to create a better future for their areas.  In a nutshell, this is the essence of the Ynni Padarn Peris scheme the other side of the mountain, and Ynni Anafon towards the coastline in Abergwygregyn.  This is also the essence of the Ynni Ogwen scheme – a community hydro scheme in Bethesda, the Ogwen Valley, which I’ve had the privilege of working on over the past three years.

Ynni Ogwen was born from a social enterprise, Partneriaeth Ogwen – an organisation that develops re-generation projects in the Ogwen Valley, and my employer as Principal Officer.  Developing the Ogwen hydro scheme was one of Partneriaeth Ogwen’s major projects – a fairly simple undertaking you’d think… three years later, I can tell you now, hand on heart that this has been one of the most challenging projects that I’ve ever been part of.  On the other hand, it’s a project that has given me and the other volunteers great satisfaction.

Car Gwyllt

Car Gwyllt’, literally translated as ‘Wild Car’, is the name given to the vehicle used by quarrymen to dart down the quarry inclines, and it seems that a trip in a car gwyllt is a similar experience to developing a community hydro scheme at times!  You feel like you’re constantly holding your breath as there are always policy changes that can throw you off track or at least take you on several diversions along the way!

To cut a long story short, we spent well over a year discussing the location of our hydro scheme with Natural Resources Wales – the organisation that regulates rivers in Wales.  There were several options on the cards, but after commissioning a number of studies (fish, bats and trees etc.) and discussing these with NRW, we were diverted and the proposed 500kW scheme was reduced to a 100kW scheme on the Ogwen River in Bethesda.  During this stage, the astonishing news came from the Government in Westminster that the Feed in Tariff rates were being reduced at the end of 2015.  This completely ruined business plans of many community groups like us across Wales.  Luckily for us, this was a break in our financial prospects, but wasn’t fatal.

Obviously, the above is a significant challenge to any community group developing a hydro scheme.  Firstly, most community groups don’t have a large financial fund to pay for all the necessary studies, and secondly, most groups don’t have the internal capacity to interpret all the studies that are commissioned.  In Ynni Ogwen’s case, we had to apply for a number of grants to help fund this ‘pre-planning/extraction’ phase, and most of this funding came from the Welsh Government.

Unfortunately, we could spend hours discussing the countless difficulties, but I think we’d better leave it there…  All I can say is that there is no end to the struggle and there is another significant challenge facing us at the moment, the steep rise in business rates… but that’s a story for another day…

Community Energy

The opening of a community shares scheme has been one of the things that has given me most personal satisfaction with regards to this scheme.  Once we received our planning permission and the licence to extract water from the river, Ynni Ogwen Ltd was established as a Social Community Interest company, lease contracts were agreed with the landowners and lots more work, we were ready to open the community shareholder scheme.  This is a form of crowdfunding that gave people an opportunity to invest in the Ynni Ogwen Cyf scheme through buying shares.  In the space of two months, a total value of £459,600 of shares had been purchased with 85% of the investors from the locality.  This meant that all the costs for building the hydro scheme had been raised without the need to go to a commercial bank for a loan.  This is a tremendous amount of money for an area like the Ogwen Valley, and brings me a great sense of pride.  More importantly, this meant that Ynni Ogwen was a community scheme in all aspects – local people’s energy had gone into creating the scheme, local people’s money has been used to realise the scheme and local people will benefit from any community profits created.  Also, we were able to employ local people along the journey, with contractors from Gwynedd and a project manager from Bethesda.  We believe strongly in Ynni Ogwen’s community roots and all the benefits is kept in the Valley is a core value.  This is what led us to bring back the Renewables UK Cymru Award for ‘Community Engagement’ to the Ogwen Valley in 2016.

It is a pleasure to share with you that the hydro scheme has now been built and we’re producing clean and sustainable energy in the Ogwen Valley!  As well as the hydro energy, the energy of the people involved has been tremendous, and working with the volunteers and the Board has been a real eye opener.  Thousands of volunteer hours has gone into developing the scheme.  Volunteers also now oversee the scheme’s operation through visiting the site and administrating the scheme.

A snowball

Since developing the Ynni Ogwen scheme, many more sustainable schemes are being put to work in the Ogwen Valley.  To an extent, I see the scheme as a catalyst or snowball that has led to many other exciting projects.  For over a year, I’ve been part of the Cyd Ynni – Ynni Lleol pilot, which looks at innovative methods to use hydroelectricity locally within communities.  This means, not just exporting electricity to all corners of the world, but using it in our communities at a reduced rate.  Around 100 local homes in the Ogwen Valley are now part of the scheme which helps locals receive cheaper electricity.  The hundred households also benefit from efficiency assessments of their homes and community events such as the Energy Efficiency Fair and guided tours of the hydro scheme.  The project has also brought people together to discuss sustainability, and that can only be a good thing.

Further afield than the Ogwen Valley, I’m also collaborating with our friends over the mountain in Llanberis and Abergwyngregyn.  More often than not, to share grant applications or discuss lobbying, but more recently, to discuss growing communities, graphic novels about community energy, electric cars and much more!  The snowball is growing!

A revolution baby

I’m currently on maternity leave, at home with the children and besotted with Eiri Gwyn, a four month old baby full of joy.  And that’s why I got involved in all this and continue to contribute to community projects like this.  These projects truly aim to create a better future for our children.  And that’s the message to anyone reading I suspect – despite the challenges, being part of a community energy scheme is worthwhile on several levels.  We’re not an electricity company, we’re a community interest company that’s working sustainably for the benefit of our environment, our people, our children and our future.

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

Meleri yw Prif Swyddog Partneriaeth Ogwen Cyf ac wedi arwain ar ddatblygiad Hydro Ogwen ers Mehefin 2014 fel rhan o’i gwaith gyda Partneriaeth Ogwen Cyf / Meleri Davies is Partneriaeth Ogwen Cyf’s Chief Officer and has led on the development of the Hydro Ogwen project since June 2014 as part of her work at Partneriaeth Ogwen Cyf.