Feasibility study funded for small hydropower project in England

The Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society this week announced it is using a £20,000 (US$25,000) grant from the Rural Community Energy Fund to begin a feasibility study into replacing a long-closed small hydropower plant with a new 100-kW plant on the River Dart in Devon, England.

Historical information indicates the original 50-kW Staverton Leat – a leat is an open watercourse conducting water to a mill – hydropower project was commissioned in the 1930s. The plant produced power for 40 years via two turbines, 15 kW and 35 kW, until it closed in the early 1970s.

Project developer Tontes Renewable Energy Society (Tresoc) said it set up Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society to co-develop the new plant in a joint venture with local developer, Hydrosense.

If approved for construction, Tresoc said in addition to generating electricity from a single Archimedes screw hydro turbine, the project will rehabilitate the leat and include a new fish pass to help migrating riverine wildlife navigate the project.

In late 2015, Hydrosense and Tresoc completed the US$2.5 million 350-kW Totnes Weir project, which uses two 165-kW Archimedes screw hydro turbines that generate power used by local businesses and King Edward VI Community College.

The electricity generated from the new plant will power the Dartington Hall Estate.

Last month, HydroWorld.com reported on the completion of a 99 kW Archimedes screw hydroelectric plant in Sonning.

According to the project’s owner, Pridewater Estates Ltd., the Archimedes screw installed at Sonning will offset energy used by Pridewater’s marinas and campgrounds. Power generated at the site is fed directly into the national grid.

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