The summer hydro dip

Monday morning, and another walk to work.

Today was a day for getting the readings for our hydro-electric scheme. We send the readings to the government (to make sure we’re not being naughty and extracting too much water) and more importantly, to the electric company, so we can get paid for the power we push into the grid.

Here are the readings for the last 18 months:

As you can see, there is a large drop in the summer, when there’s not much water in the stream. Unlike mega-scale hydro schemes, we don’t have a dam to hold back water to create a constant flow. Whatever water comes down the stream, we’re allowed to take a percentage for generation. Hence the seasonal variation, and the random-looking peaks and troughs: sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn’t.

So whilst we’re not exactly keeping all the lights on in the rest of the UK, we are at least providing enough for 3-4 other homes.

Spring in the mountains

It’s March in the mountains, but the weather doesn’t seem to be reading the script, so we are sitting here surrounded by snow. Yesterday was the first time we managed to get out – we’d been snowed in for 5 days – but had plenty of supplies and we stayed snug and warm.

However today, just as the thaw has started, the water supply finally decided to play up. Nothing too serious, just a pipe that had come loose. All fixed in a few minutes.

But to find, diagnose and fix the problem we had to get all togged up with wellies and warm gear, find a selection of tools plus the short wave radios and then set off to the spring to sort it – navigating snow drifts and hidden obstacles as we went. A nice diversion from the desk and a bona fide excuse to get out and enjoy some fresh air.

And we bumped into a neighbour on the way back and caught up with some community news.