Community starts its own hydro electricity scheme

Posted by Laura Grant on June 9, 2008
Posted in Renewable energy

Britain’s first community-owned hydro power project is under construction and the whole process has been lovingly documented for the past three months on a blog. A giant 70kW reverse Archimedean screw with a diameter of 2.4 metres will be installed on the Goyt River in New Mills, Derbyshire to generate about 260,000kWh or electricity a year – about enough to power 70 houses, the blog says.

Archimedean screws were used to carry water uphill to irrigation channels, but “someone had the idea of reversing one to generate electricity”, the blog says.

Apparently the community is going to use the electricity to power a local co-op story and sell any surplus energy to the national grid.

Friends of the Earth wants the British government to provide financing for community renewable energy projects which is says will “help kickstart a green energy revolution”. The British environmental group says that small-scale renewable energy projects – which could be homes, businesses or communities generating their own electricity – would be made much more cost-effective to install if for “feed-in schemes” energy companies were required to set up long-term contracts to buy green energy generated by these projects at a premium rate.

The same applies for South Africa. A feed-in scheme here might make solar power systems more affordable and the fact that the City of Cape Town agreed to a long-term contract to buy electricity generated by the Darling Wind Farm must have gone a long way towards getting that project up and running.

A note at the end of the FOE press release says:
Feed-in tariff schemes operate in seventeen European countries. The scheme has been especially successful in Germany, which now has 200 times more solar power and over ten times more wind power than the UK and employs 250,000 people in renewable energy – compared with just 7,000 in the UK.


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