WALES’ only AA Five Red Star hotel, based near Bala, is aiming to develop its green status by introducing one of the few electric car charging points powered by its own hydro plant.
Palé Hall in Llandderfel reopened in 2016 and became North Wales’s only AA five star hotel a year later – before receiving Five Red Star status in 2018.
Since then, owners Alan and Angela Harper, have turned their attentions to improving the hotel’s green matters.
The pair have already decided to power the hotel with their own hydro scheme and now their latest addition has seen them install electric car charging points which are also powered by surplus electricity from the hydro site.
In association with Chargemaster, Palé Hall have installed two fast charge units capable of charging four electric vehicles at the same time.
Palé is a unique property that is powered from the hydro, which in effect means electric vehicles run on water.
Both the original hydro system set up in 1920 and the new turbine are powered by water from the stream at the top of the mountain. From there it is piped down the hillside through two inspection chambers to the turbine house a field away from Pale.
Owners Alan and Angela Harper say they are very keen to build on the hotels eco credentials.
“When we bought Pale Hall in 2015, the old hydro-electric plant was still operating, it’s historical importance clear,” Mr Harper said.
“We were determined to make it fit for modern purpose and set about updating the system at a cost of nearly £350,000. Taken as an average over the year, the hotel produces all its electricity its surfeit sold to the national grid.
“We are looking at a three-year payback on the investment, which is important, but more important is ecological impact. Clean water enters and clean water exits. So, in addition to re-cycling, organic toiletries in re-useable glass bottles, buying local produce and employing local staff, all reducing our green footprint, at Pale Hall we can run your electric cars on water.”
It was because of this free electricity that Pale was kept in such good condition even though it had lain empty for 22 years. Eighteen electric fires were run from this equipment and were left burning around the house while it was unoccupied.
The original turbine created DC electricity which, sadly, is the wrong kind. The house had to be rewired to AC current to comply with safety regulations. It took seven miles of cable incorporating approximately 440 sockets.
The Harpers have now updated the entire system installing a more efficient turbine that generates the right kind of electricity at an additional 60% efficiency.
When there is sufficient water, this provides all the electricity for the hotel and the outbuildings as well as feeding the surplus into the national grid. The original turbine and all its switches have been preserved as a piece of mechanical history.
The car charging points at Palé Hall are available to members of the public between the hours of 6.30am and 11pm and 24 hours a day to hotel guests.
“We are delighted to offer this facility free of charge to all,” Mr Harper concluded.