COUNCILLORS  gave plans to generate electricity by using the water flow of the River Claerwen near Rhayader, the thumbs up.

At a meeting of the Powys County Council, planning committee, members were told details of a 1.1Mega Watt (MW) Hydro Electric Scheme.

It will use the water from from the Claerwen Reservoir as it passes from the Claerwen Dam to the Dolymynach Reservoir.

Planning officer Tamsin Law, explained that water would be taken from a concrete weir across two sections of river by an intake pipe will be buried underground running along the river to  a powerhouse.

Ms Law, stressed that the Welsh Government has targets for renewable energy.

By 2030 it is expected that Wales will be in a position to generate 70 per-cent of its electricity consumption from renewable energy sources.

She also confirmed that Natural Resources Wales (NRW) had given the applicant and abstraction licence to take water out of the river.

Councillor Elwyn Vaughan (Plaid Cymru – Glantwymyn), said: “When you look an application like this you look at the environmental considerations

“I welcome the comments by the ecologist that the scheme could even add to the biodiversity in the area, which is something I welcome.

“And because of this I’m happy to mover we back the scheme.

Cllr Hywel Lewis (Independent, Llangunllo) added: “I feel this is very much the sort of renewable energy project we should be supporting.

“Water runs continuously, not like wind turbines, the long term benefits far outweigh the short term inconvenience of any extra traffic during construction.”

Cllr David Price (Independent – Llanafanfawr) added that it was a first class application that conformed to both PCC and Welsh Government policies on renewable energy.

Cllr Roger Williams (Liberal Democrat – Felinfach) which being supportive was disappointed that the farms of the Elan Estate which use diesel generators to produce electricity would not be hooked up with the Hydro Scheme.

Ms Law told Cllr Williams that the energy produced would be linked to the National Grid.

Consultees, Llanwrthwl Community Council and Rhayader Town Council,  both backed the scheme.

They expect the area will receive a financial benefit and that farms or homesteads nearby will be able to access the electricity supply.

Ms Law added that the councils had not provided any evidence about what community benefit could be considered.

She said that this did not necessarily mean that they could not discuss community benefit with the applicant, Mr Campbell-Lendrum.