Construction has begun on the eagerly-anticipated hydro-electric generation plant on the River Dane in Congleton.
Work is now underway on the Congleton Hydro Scheme, which is being installed at the 250-year-old Havannah Weir, and will see energy being generated from rainwater; delivering a clean, renewable source of power that will have a positive impact on the environment.
The ambitious scheme is being backed by HMK Automation Group, and we have provided more than £40,000 worth of equipment to help get the project moving.
The donation from HMK includes the regenerative drive system made up of the cubiclised electrical drive, motor/generator and gearbox, which will automate the generation of electricity from water flow over the weir.
Following a successful community funding drive to raise more than £700,000 to finance the scheme, initial work began last month (August) on the cable installation programme, which will see 1km of buried cable laid from the Weir to the Siemens factory in Congleton, which is purchasing the green electricity generated from the plant.
Gary Kitchin, Managing Director at HMK Automation, said: “The Congleton Hydro Scheme is a fantastic initiative that will benefit the whole community and the wider environment for many generations to come and we are very proud to support it.
“Everyone has a part to play in combating climate change, and as a long-standing business in Congleton which specialises in automation and drive technology, we were the natural partner to lend our support to the scheme and provide the necessary equipment and expertise to help make the vision a reality.
“It’s very exciting to see work finally get underway – this marks a pivotal moment in both the history and the future of Congleton and it’s fantastic that the whole community and local businesses like ourselves are able to play our part in that legacy.”
The project is the creation of Dane Valley Community Energy (DVCE) a not-for-profit group of volunteers, who have been planning the scheme for the past four years.
Mervyn Sara, Company Secretary at Dane Valley Community Energy, added: “Dane Valley Community Energy are committed to bringing together businesses and local people to help make Congleton a more sustainable town.
“HMK have been instrumental in making our dream of generating carbon free electricity from the abundant Peak District rainfall into a reality by donating a complete suite of electrical equipment. This has enabled us to proceed with a venture that will benefit the people of Congleton for many years to come and will also provide an educational resource to encourage the next generation of Congletonians to think about practical methods to reduce their environmental impact. Without the generous support of HMK the project would have struggled to be financially viable.”
The hydro installation will consist of a 2.5m diameter, 8m long Archimedes screw driving a 75kW electrical generator, generating enough renewable, clean energy that could power the equivalent of 60 homes.
Funding for the plant has being raised through a community share ownership scheme, and the planned surpluses of around £5,000 per year from the sale of the green electricity will be used to support local projects that focus on creating a sustainable environment.
It’s anticipated the hydro plant will be complete and operational by February 2021, and will remain in place for many years, meaning the community will continue to benefit from the sustainable energy it will produce.
It will also serve as a valuable educational resource to increase awareness of environmental issues for local children.