Friday, August 28, 2015

News: £2.1m Rotherham hydropower project

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A large scale hydropower energy development in Rotherham, the first project of its kind in Yorkshire, is set to start generating renewable electricity next month.

It is one of just a handful of large low-head hydropower (LHHP) developments in the country that are the first to be built since the 1920s.

Using twin "Archimedes screw" turbines, it will extract power from the River Don at Thrybergh weir, near Kilnhurst, and supply sufficient electricity for 300 homes in perpetuity.

It also includes fish and eel passages which open up another stretch of the river and are part of an ambitious long-term plan to get salmon back up to Sheffield, where they can spawn.

Visiting the site, Wentworth and Dearne MP, John Healey, said: "The scheme is interesting and impressive, and the developers have worked very closely with anglers and conservationists. This will be a valuable, permanent, renewable and sustainable source of energy.

"I'm delighted the first scheme in Yorkshire is in the constituency and am keen to see the government put in place support and incentives to allow other similar schemes to go ahead.

"This is the type of true renewable energy project the government should be backing more strongly, because it can improve rather than intrude on the local environment."
The Thrybergh weir facility is being built by Barn Energy, a hydropower company working on multiple hydropower sites in Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

The project was handled fully at Spaans Babcock Ltd in Heywood, from the initial design and project management right through to the installation of the Screw Generators.

The new power station consists of two Archimedes Screw Generators over 8m in length and weighing over 22 tonnes each with their gearboxes and generators. At over 3.5m wide, each screw can take up to 6.5 tonnes of water every second.

Yorkshire Hydropower is now investigating whether similar schemes near Wakefield and Knottingley on the Aire and Calder can be built.

The project will produce 1 million kWh of electricity per year for at least 100 years. A solar farm would require ten acres to generate the same amount of energy, and would have a limited lifespan of around 30 years. The hydropower project, once completed and with proper maintenance, will generate renewable electricity indefinitely.

Mark Simon, director of Barn Energy Ltd, said: "It was a great honour to show Mr Healey the Thrybergh hydropower project – no one who visits the scheme fails to be impressed by the positive and sustainable nature of what is being built here.

"We are proud to be putting the industrial waterways of England back to work as power generators, while introducing unique environmental benefits which serve to mitigate the damage done by industrialisation.

"We hope to be supported in building many more projects of this nature on the major waterways of England."

Oliver Coppard, project manager of the Dearne Valley Eco-vision, also made the visit with Mr Healey. Mr Coppard said: "Through the Dearne Valley Eco Vision we are working to transform the Dearne into a leading low carbon community, so this hydro scheme is fantastic to see.

"We'll be working with the developers over the coming months and years to make sure that we're able to showcase the site to local schools and across the community, as an example of just how exciting our low carbon future can be."

Images: Spaans Babcock

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