A share offer for a community-owned hydroelectric scheme was recently launched in Settle, a small town in the Yorkshire dales.
Individuals, local businesses and social investors get the chance to become members of a ground breaking renewable electricity project that will provide clean, green electricity – a unique way to demonstrate a commitment to a sustainable environmental project.
The hydroelectric scheme is a development that plans to install a 50kW hydro power plant at Bridge End Weir, in Settle, Yorkshire. The plant will be community-owned and surplus monies from the sale of hydro electricity will fund local environmental and community projects.
The money raised through the share offer will go towards purchasing and installing the 50kW hydro power plant, which uses a modernised version of a 2,000 year old Greek invention – the Archimedean screw. The hydro plant is capable of generating 184000 kWh of green, renewable electricity every year at no cost to the planet. This is enough electricity to power 46 homes.
Shares cost £1 each, with a minimum shareholding of 250 shares. Settle Hydro Ltd is an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community and will be run on a one-member one-vote principle.
This North Yorkshire initiative expects to raise £100,000 by 15 December 2008.
H2oPE is a social enterprise – a community interest company. Set up in February 07 it has a mission of setting up small-scale hydro plants and reducing carbon emissions.
It will develop ‘low head’ hydro sites using the Archimedean screw which will be installed adjacent to suitable river weirs. The water will run from above the weir, down the screw and turning it, returning to the river just below the weir. The turning motion of the Archimedean screw generates electricity which can then be sold through the national grid.
H2oPE is in a position to produce renewable energy at no cost to the future of the planet and save approx 6,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
Hydroelectricity accounts for half of the renewable energy produced in the UK, yet in all of the publicity surrounding climate change, it is wind and offshore renewables that are highlighted. Hydroelectricity never gets a mention.
H2oPE believes there is an untapped potential for hydroelectricity that exists almost in every river and it’s being overlooked by the government and potential investors. That untapped potential drove the early stages of the industrial revolution and the infrastructure is still there.
River weirs were constructed by their thousands and generated mechanical power for the industrial revolution. H2oPE proposes re-using the river weirs for their original intention, the generation of power though this time they’ll use them to develop electrical energy instead of mechanical energy. This will tap into a vastly underused resource that can mobilise local community involvement whilst delivering a blended return on investment.
Maybe in the north OUR rivers have enough water for communities to follow suit?