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Hydropower TV: learn from the water power pioneers

Kate Herbert

22nd September, 2009

Okay so not much happens most of the time... but for anyone interested in building a hydro-electric turbine these live images of a micro-hydropower project construction in Cumbria make compelling viewing

A webcam has gone live at Heron Corn Mill, a registered charity in Beetham, south Cumbria, enabling viewers to follow every construction stage of a hydro-electric turbine beside the weir of the River Bela.

The 100kW turbine will have an estimated annual carbon emission saving of 486 tonnes, equivalent to offsetting the carbon footprint of all the homes in the parish.

Its estimated annual energy yield of 438,600kWh will supply local businesses with green energy and generate an anticipated income of £40,000 towards the mill's charitable work from surplus exports to the electricity network.

Public viewing

The £510,000 project, funded by various sources including the Northern Rock Foundation, the Bowland Trust and the EDF Energy Green Fund, is due to generate its first green energy by the end of the year.

Jo Steven, leader of EDF Energy's Green Fund, said: 'We are proud to be working with Heron Corn Mill to help establish new micro-hydropower generation. This historic mill site can serve a modern purpose by generating green electricity. The webcam is a great way to involve the public and we hope it will prove an inspiration to those considering installing this type of renewable energy technology.'

Construction started in June and is due to finish in September, followed by electrical work and commissioning of the turbine, planned for October and November. Viewers are being encouraged to use the webcam on weekdays, while work is in progress.

Wheely good...

The webcam has already transmitted footage of sand bags being installed in the river to create a dam so cranes can be used on the riverbed. Viewers have also seen limestone being chipped away from a rock face at the side of the weir to make way for the turbine.

A deeper pool is being created in the base of the weir to encourage water circulation and flow, then work will take place to install the machinery and equipment.

Audrey Steeley, project development manager at Heron Corn Mill, said: 'The webcam is a great way for us to share our progress with the public. A lot of people are watching the project. It is marvellous for anyone wanting to install hydropower generation as they can see what happens from start to finish. We hope this demonstration project can be replicated in other mills around the country.'

As one of the few working mills in the area, Heron Corn Mill has been a base for industry powered by renewable energy for more than 900 years.

The 14ft high waterwheel powers all the industrial heritage mill machinery and the hydro-electric turbine will build on the site's history of using water-powered renewable energy.

www.heronmill.org

Kate Herbert is a freelance journalist

 

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Hydropower TV: learn from the water power pioneers
Okay so not much happens most of the time... but for anyone interested in building a hydro-electric turbine these live images of a micro-hydropower project construction in Cumbria make compelling viewing

 

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