Settle for Water Power
24 Nov 2008
Local and sustainable power generation projects, owned and run by local people and generating power for local amenities, represents social enterprise working at its best.
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Local and sustainable power generation projects, owned and run by local people and generating power for local amenities, represents social enterprise working at its best. One such project has recently been launched at Settle, North Yorkshire, where waterpower technology company, Water Power Enterprises, is to install a reversed Archimedean Screw hydro power system at Bridge End Weir.
The company already have a similar project up and running at New Mills, in Derbyshire. Now, in Settle, they plan to install a 50 kilowatt hydro power plant, that will be community-owned by Settle Hydro Limited.
Surplus monies from the sale of hydro electricity will fund local environmental and community projects. The plant will be capable of generating 185,000 kilowatt hours of green, renewable electricity every year ñ enough to power 50 homes.
Settle Hydro Limited is a development of Settle Area Regeneration Team, Settle District Going Green and Settle District Chamber of Trade. At the recent share offer launch, Ann Harding, one of the Directors, said: ‘Buying shares in your local hydro scheme really is a great way to demonstrate your green credentials. I’m very excited about the possibility of generating clean, green electricity from our local weir, which will then be used by local people.’
Shares cost £1 each and the minimum shareholding requirement is £250. The company is an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community and operates on a one-member one-vote principle. Investors have until December 15th 2008 to buy shares and can download a prospectus from the Settle Going Green website.
Water Power Enterprises, the partner company, is a Halifax-based social enterprise. It takes the long view of renewable energy creation. This then enables larger hydro electricity sites to be installed, with greater benefit to the environment being obtained over the lifecycle.
The company plans to develop a number of low head’ hydro sites, utilising 200 year old weirs and the 2,000 year old technology of Archimedean screws. This will produce renewable energy at no cost to the future of the planet. Hydro electric sites can capture up to 60 per cent of the energy from water and they can run for over 40 years.
Besides Bridge End Weir, 42 other river weir sites have also been identified as suitable for similar development in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Water Power Enterprises aim to develop some of these and to save approximately 6,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per year by installing five megawatts of renewable energy by 2015. Electricity generated will be sold directly to energy providers via the grid. If possible, each site will sell electricity at a beneficial price to local end users, such as schools, co-operatives, leisure centres and health clinics.
The community hydro electric
scheme at New Mills, in Derbyshire
Photo: © Steve Welsh
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