The region’s potential to generate green energy from running water will be in the spotlight at a special event in the TyneValley – The Energy and Energy and Environmental Industries Forum (EEIF) will look at how the North East’s rivers could harness the power of running water to generate renewable electricity through a series of micro-hydro projects.
The EEIF has teamed up with Hexham Hydro, which is exploring the potential of a groundbreaking £1 million scheme in the TyneValley, to host Highlighting Hydro at Hexham Golf Club on April 18 between 8.30 and 10.30am. HexhamRiver Hydro is the first hydro-power generation project of its kind in the TyneValley with the potential to generate more than 100kW of power for 150 homes in the local community annually.
The scheme, on the banks of theTyne, is a joint initiative between Hexham Community Partnership and Transition Tynedale and would use a modern version of the Archimedes Screw to harness water power using a water wheel installed on a weir.
Studies are currently being undertaken on the project which could save more than 400 tonnes of carbon each year for more than 40 years.
Catriona Mulligan, who is part of the Hexham Hydro team, will be a keynote speaker at the event along with Karen Keast from global environmental consultancy Mott MacDonald.
Catriona will give an overview of how the HexhamRiverHydro project came into being, from applying for funding, carrying out the feasibility study and going out to tender for the project work and latest plans to recruit design consultants.
Karen has over a decade of experience working in the water and microrenewables sector and will look at some of the environmental challenges affecting hydro projects and technologies being used to overcome these barriers.
Catriona Mulligan from Hexham Hydro said: “Hydro projects like this have the potential to generate energy on a local scale cleanly, efficiently and inexpensively and the technology available to do it is low tech.
“There are already some great examples around the country such as the Kirklees micropower scheme inYorkshireand we have the opportunity to match this with the first here.
“It’s an excellent location and we have lots of support in principle but we need to be sure there will be no negative impact on the river and are exploring this. We’re optimistic about the project’s future and hope if everything goes well it could be up and running in 2013.”
Nikki Silcock from the EEIF added: “Hydro power is a real untapped resource at the moment but is a key element of the Renewable Energy Strategy as a way of generating energy electricity from micro and small scale schemes.
“The North East, with its abundance of hills and rivers, is well placed to capitalise on the role hydro power can play in the drive to achieving our renewable energy targets.
“We’re delighted to be joined by Hexham Hydro, which is a really exciting project and the first of its kind in the area.”