Community energy. Learn from others! New Mills Hydro

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The work on the community hydro continues. We are working with the Aber Regeneration Company on what we hope will be a joint venture 500kw hydro. In terms of the technical side I don’t think we have any surprises ( but you never know…) The area which is new to us all is what sort of company do we need to develop and manage this exciting project.

So… Today we visited a community who have ‘the T-shirt’ as it were. We organised a visit to New Mills in Derbyshire to see one of the first community hydro schemes developed. Technically this is at the opposite ends of what we are working on

New mills – 50kw low head Archemedian screw using an existing weir
Aber – possible 500kw high head pelton.

But we were over in New Mills looking at the community company. On paper this is dream project…but understanding the blood, sweat and tiers was a real reality check to anyone thinking that energy generation from scratch was going to be easy!
It was really interesting meeting ‘Archie’ ( the hydro) but meeting the people who made it happen was worth the journey. Design issues, understanding the water catchment together with the flashy nature of the river, the power purchase agreement with the coop, ROC trading, business loans, share offers with the local community, risk, euro impact on buying the hydro, what sort of company?… And on and on. Would they do it again? Yes Would they do it the same? Probably not

Now back to the job at hand…

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