Case studies

The South Somerset Hydropower Group (SSHG) is a group of 10 owners of former watermills in the South Somerset area of England who are installing micro-hydro turbines for electricity generation. The Group was founded as a result of an initiative by South Somerset District Council, and was the first of its kind in the UK. The Group won one of the 2005 Ashden Awards, and the concept has been adopted by a number of other similar groups.

The South Somerset Hydropower Project was begun in 2001 and the first turbine, at Gants Mill (Pitcombe), was commissioned in 2003. When all the mills are in operation it is expected that they will collectively generate around 600 MWh per year, sufficient to supply about 150 homes and avoid the production of 260 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The Tintern Angiddy Project - a micro hydro electric project in the Angiddy valley near Tintern, Monmouthshire, UK. Up to 200 litres water per second flows down a 1 Km pipe with a vertical drop of 27 metres driving a small turbine generator which feeds the National Grid. Annual profits realised by the scheme will be distributed within the local Tintern community.

The Mendip Power Group is a group of owners installing micro-hydroelectric turbines in a number of historic former watermills in the Mendip area of Somerset, England. The group is one of several formed after the concept was developed by the South Somerset Hydropower Group.

The first to start electricity generation was Tellisford Mill, on the River Frome, which began operating in April 2007 and which is ultimately expected to produce 75 kW.

Settle Hydro was established as an ‘Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community’ with the specific purpose of owning the Settle Weir Hydro Electric Scheme. The scheme will generate revenue by selling the electricity produced, any surplus being used to benefit the local community through its twin aims of regenerating the local economy and promoting the environmental sustainability of Settle District. The scheme has raised part of the finance required by selling shares to members of the public.

Torrs Hydro New Mills Limited was established in 2006 to develop the Torrs hydro electric scheme on the Rover Goyt in Derbyshire. As a community funded energy scheme, the revenue generated from the site helps to regenerate the local community.

Brecon Beacons hydro where there are presently 10 hydro electric installations within The Green Valleys project, ranging from a couple of kilowatts to 36 kW.

The British Hydropower Association represents the interests of all those involved in the UK hydropower industry. It promotes the use and awareness of small hydropower, and lobbies to protect its members' interests. Regular newsletters keep readers updated on the hydropower industry in Britain.

For more information:

British Hydropower Association

Membership of the Association is open to any organisation or individual with an interest in the use of water power. Members include manufacturers of all kinds of equipment used in the industry, civil, mechanical and electrical consulting engineers, utility companies, academic institutions, developers - large and small, individuals, charities and students - anyone who is interested in and keen to promote the use of hydropower.

More Case studies can be found here.

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