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BHA NEWS Hydropower - the pioneer of renewable energy

Arrival of the turbine at Roach Mill

Roach Mill bridge and weir

The wheel turns full circle at Roach Bridge Mill After five years of planning and preparation, a new 200Kw hydro power plant has just been commissioned on the banks of the River Darwen near Samlesbury. ‘Green’ energy from the historic Roach Bridge Mill installation will be sufficient to power all businesses on site and feed ten times as much into the National Grid. Supervisors Clare

Elaine Higgins (nee Harper), Finance Director of Edenbrace Limited, the family-owned company behind the project, says that she is particularly delighted, as completing this part of the project not only combines conservation of historic engineering works with state-ofthe-art hydro technology but also revitalises an area which has been connected with the Harper family for generations. “An earlier turbine was installed

by Gilkes in 1901 at a cost of £696”, she explained. “Amazingly, Gilkes still have the original designs and invoice in their records. It was eventually decommissioned by my father in the early 1960’s. Now, with advances in technology and the availability of FiTs, it is once again economically viable to run the mill on water power. So in 110 years we have come full circle, although the new scheme has cost more than a thousand times the original! Since we are situated in an area of Special Scientific Interest, environmental standards required some hefty expenditure, however, I don’t suppose there are many business parks populated with bats, owls and newts and where the occasional deer can be seen ambling through the yard in the early morning.” The designers of the scheme are Inter Hydro Technology of

Faulds, Elaine Higgins and Camilla Hadcock

Kendal, with on-site civil engineering and electrical works being carried out by local contractors. The 200kW Kaplan vertical shaft turbine was supplied by Newmills Hydro Technology Ltd of Carrickfergus and is predicted to produce an annual average output of 750MWh enough for about 200 UK homes. Mrs Higgins went on to explain that the scheme was only made viable with the help of the current government subsidy on power generation in the form of the Feed-in-Tariff. “I do hope the government understands exactly how great the impact of this subsidy has been”, she commented. “We will not receive a penny of support until we start generating, but on the basis of the promised future

income subsidy, we have already spent well over £1 million on the development, all of which has gone to British firms. “British engineering and design are in the forefront of hydro technology worldwide, so the subsidy not only encourages the growth of renewable energy but also supports the growth of a valuable export industry and creates employment, especially in the North where it is sorely needed.” Well known sculptor and businessman, Charles Hadcock, the director responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the project and whose own Roach Tissues paper business is located on site, said: “Of course, we hope to make a financial return on our investment, but it’s not just that, Continued on page 5


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The new turbine makes use of 235-year old Industrial Revolution infrastructure, including an original weir and a discharge tunnel running the length of the mill. It is the first part of a scheme which will ultimately see the restoration of the original building to provide approx. 8,000 sq. ft. of lettable space – with planning permission for extensive further commercial development on the site.

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BHA NEWS Hydropower - the pioneer of renewable energy

50 years of generation at Rheidol This year Rheidol Hydroelectric scheme celebrates 50 years of generating renewable energy. Rheidol started operations 17th December 1961. Acting Manager Stuart Shaw has worked there for more than half that time, under four different owners. “When I started at Rheidol the station was owned and operated by the CEGB. Following privatisation of the electricity supply industry in the early 1990s we became part of PowerGen, which is generally how we are known in the community. In 2003 the German utility E.ON bought PowerGen and since 1st January 2009 we are proud to be part of the Statkraft family, a Norwegian Energy company and the largest generator from renewable sources in Europe” he explains. On Sunday 21st August there will be a ceremony for staff past and present to mark this anniversary year and the owners would like to get in touch with people who worked at Rheidol in the early days or even on the construction in order to invite them to attend. Over fifty years many people have worked on the scheme or as guides on the free bus tours of the power station. Many are still in touch and attend the annual Pensioners’ Christmas Dinner, but staff would like to contact more exemployees as part of the celebrations.

Continued from page 4

A family Fun Day for staff, the local community and general public will follow from 12pm. There will be traditional fun-day activities but they are

it’s the whole idea of the fight against climate change, reducing reliance on imports and fossil fuels and doing just that little bit for our community to be self-supporting. This has been a real team effort of consultants and contractors working with us – and every one of the tenants on site has contributed in some way. “It has been a difficult and sometimes frustrating road to get the project completed and without sheer determination, we would have given up long ago. This turbine could well last for another 110 years so we have all derived tremendous satisfaction in having set something down that will benefit future generations long after we have gone.”

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Mr Hadcock commented that South Ribble Council had been particularly helpful in the early days of planning the project and United Utilities had gone out of their way to overcome difficulties in the connection to the national grid, while Barclays have continued their financial support despite the sea changes in the lending market. As the mill is only a few minutes drive from the M6 at Junction 31 and provides spectacular views over the surrounding countryside, any business looking to improve its green credentials could find the answer by taking space in these unusual and distinctive premises.

Edenbrace Ltd

Aerial view of Nant-y-Moch Dam

also hoping to promote renewable energy and engineering through different displays and games. The star attraction is a show on “The Magic of Electricity” by Ian B Dunne (, a science performer/educator, who will be making things fizz, glow and fly through the air. Statkraft Energy Ltd

World hydroelectric output grew by a below-average 1.5% in 2009, but it was still sufficient to make it the World’s most rapidlygrowing major fuel! Source: Lake Benmore hydroelectric dam New Zealand

UK Commits to halve carbon emissions by 2025 The UKs Fourth Carbon Budget was unveiled by the government in May, which places a legal obligation on the country to achieve a 50% cut in carbon dioxide emissions covering the period 2023 and 2027 (compared to 1990 levels). This will put the country on track for an emissions cut of 80% by 2050.


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BHA NEWS Hydropower - the pioneer of renewable energy

HYDRO Developments in the UK

HYDRO DEVELOPMENTS…. Screw Generators to power Iconic Clock Tower BHA Member Spaans Babcock is in the process of installing two huge screw generators within the boundary of the Lake District National Park, at the Southern end of Lake Windermere. The equipment is to be installed at the site of a former gunpowder works in Low Wood, Haverthwaite and will use water from the river Leven.

One of the huge screws in manufacture in the Spaans factory

Each screw has a diameter of 3 metres, is 19 metres long and weighs around 40 tonnes. They have a combined power output of over 400 kW when operating at their full capacity of 4,000 l/s each. This capacity and the head of 7.2 metres make it one of the largest Archimedes screw hydro power stations in the World. The largest being Teesside which has four screws, generating a combined power output of 520 kW – also supplied and installed by Spaans Babcock. The system will be controlled by Spaans’ inhouse developed integrated control system. This utilises ABB regenerative drives to achieve maximum output whilst keeping noise to a minimum. The projected annual power output of the scheme is up to 1,946 MWh per annum, equivalent to the annual average energy usage of more than 400 family homes. As the electricity generated is clean and green - this equates to a saving in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 1,000 tonnes. Spaans Babcock is installing the equipment for Low Wood Products Company Ltd via project managers RG Parkins. Spaans is responsible for the complete M&E package; including the supply of control gates, electrical panels,


interconnecting cabling, and all installation and commissioning. The civil works are being undertaken by JN Bentley, with whom Spaans have partnered on numerous other hydro schemes. Some of the power generated will be used to

power the Clock Tower, a Grade II listed building at the site which is in the process of being converted into environmentally friendly office units. Surplus electricity will be sold to the National Grid under the governments Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) scheme. Spaans Babcock

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HYDRO DEVELOPMENTS in the UK continued….

River Derwent to power City Council Building Work will start this month on a hydro scheme at the Longbridge Weir on the River Derwent that will supply electricity for the city council, cutting the authority’s carbon emissions and earning it thousands of pounds a year. The plans were first unveiled in 2006, and when it is finished this November, it will provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of 300 homes. It will also have the potential to generate an income of £137,000 by selling the surplus to the national grid and making savings by not paying climate-change levies.

River Tyne hydro at Hexham Plans to generate electricity to power all the houses in the town from the River Tyne in Northumberland have been unveiled and a feasibility study is being carried out by BHA member Inter Hydro Technology. Hexham Town Council is backing the initiative from Hexham Community Partnership and the environmental group Transition Tynedale. Northumberland County Council has part-funded the feasibility study and if successful, the scheme would sell surplus power to the grid bringing financial reward to stakeholders. Source:

Water from the river will also be used to cool the air supplied to the council building.

First hydro scheme on Lakeland hillside home Rhondda Colliery Site Source:

to hydro scheme

The first micro-hydro scheme on a former Rhondda

An idyllic Lakeland hillside could soon be home to a new 100kW hydro scheme. Work on the project between Black Combe and White Combe could be generating electricity by early next year. A bid to transform Baystone Bank Reservoir into a green energy resource last year failed. In the new plans, a small concrete weir would direct water into a 400mm, 1,050, long pipe containing turbines to generate electricity for use on the farm, with any surplus to be sold back to the National Grid.

Colliery site has been unveiled. The scheme, which will provide electricity for 56 households, was introduced to the Cambrian County Park by Cwmclydach Communities First. Their application took seven years of planning and beat off competition from 500 other entrants all wanting to introduce greener technology solutions to their areas. Source:


Appeal rejected A proposed micro-hydro scheme at Westerton Wood at Dess, near Aboyne, Deeside, has been rejected. Planning officials said that the ecology would not be adversely affected, provided conditions on the construction method and other issues were met, and had recommended approval subject to conditions. But the application was rejected 5-4 by councillors, claiming the turbine house, construction access and connection would damage the beauty of the area. Source:

Hydro scheme in Welsh showcaves The National Showcaves Centre for Wales complex at Dan-yr-Ogof in the Upper Swansea Valley is to harness the power of the underground river which runs beneath it. The hydro scheme is to be developed in the River Llynfell, which flows underground for over 10 miles before reappearing at the cave entrance. The cave water was last used to power a small hydro scheme to light the caves for tourists in the 1930s – the first time hydropower had been used to light a cave. The new scheme, which will see a 75kW crossflow turbine installed, will make the Centre completely self-sufficient. Source:

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NEW MEMBERS The BHA would like to welcome the following new members: • Black & Veatch (Company): Consulting engineers who design and build hydropower systems. • Highland Power Ltd (Company): Developer and consultant specialising in small-scale run-of-river schemes between 100kw and 2MW. • Hydroventuri Ltd (Company): An innovative clean technology company with a unique core aeration technology. • Lycetts (Company): Insurance brokers offering tailored insurance solutions for renewable energy projects. • North Wales Hydro Power Ltd (Company): Specialists in the development of hydro schemes with landowners. • Radius Plus Ltd (Company): Pipeline manufacturer and installer offering specialist services for pipelines. • VerdErg Renewables Ltd (Company): Suppliers of spectral marine energy converters (SMEC). • Aaron & Partners LLP (Correspondent): Legal specialist services to the renewables industry. • Edenbrace Ltd (Correspondent): Small generator with a 200kW scheme in Lancashire. • Statkraft Energy Ltd (Correspondent): Generator, o. • Transition Town Forres Ltd (Correspondent): Community organisation looking to develop a 29kW micro-hydro scheme. • Andrew Sheath (Private).


IHT in BHA spotlight Issue 2 2011  

This is a four page extract from Issue 2 of the 2011 British Hydropower Association Spotlight Magazine, containing three short articles on s...

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