MCFly talks to Clare Walker*, who been helping some local community-owned schemes to turn water and gravity into … electricity.
Who is it that has been raising money?
H2ope (Water Power Enterprises) the social enterprise behind the UK’s first community-owned hydro electricity plant in New Mills, High Peak, have been working with the Saddleworth Hydro team to raise the outstanding £120K needed to finance the project.
What has the money be raised to “do”?
The £120K raised through the share offer, which was launched last December, will be added to the grant of £223K from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas, which is administered via Defra. This covers the total cost of the project and will enable the Directors to move on immediately to phase 2: developing the final specifications for the scheme and applying for the necessary regulatory permissions .Saddleworth will be England’s first ‘high head’ community-owned hydro, using head from the 90ft dam at the Dove Stone reservoir. A 51kW turbine will be installed generating 170,000kWh/year electricity, enough to power 45 homes
When will that start to be done?
Directors are hoping that construction will start in Spring 2013
Where did the money come from (biggest individual amount etc etc)
The majority of the shareholders are local from the Saddleworth and greater Oldham areas, but there are some from Manchester and some as far afield as Ayrshire, and London. The minimum investment was £250 and the maximum £10,000, from just under 200 shareholders.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
The scheme is being supported by the Friends of the Earth in Manchester. “When conventional power supplies are under pressure, I believe that renewable energy schemes such as ours can help provide an alternative solution” explains Saddleworth Hydro Director Bill Edwards. “The powerhouse will be unobtrusive, we won’t be using up natural resources, we’ll simply be harnessing the power from the compensation flow of the 90ft dam. There’ll be no environmental damage to either the surrounding countryside or to the ecology of the reservoir.
“I’m absolutely delighted that there are enough like-minded people who believe that individual community hydro schemes like ours are worth supporting. I’d like to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who’s subscribed.”
* Clare Walker
07595 873221/0161 374 5868/01609 883011