Power from the Landscape
The use of water power in the South Pennines can be traced back to very early records of corn and fulling mills through to powering the Industrial Revolution of the 19th C.
Power from the Landscape aims to make water power a common feature of the landscape once again and provide clean renewable energy for the people of the area. It will support communities in developing micro hydro projects across the area, providing impartial advice and support on all technology and financial options for a site.
The Alternative Technology Centre carried out a project looking at the history of the old water powered mills of the upper Calder Valley in 2007 called Power in the Landscape and this highlighted the fact that many of these sites are useable for putting micro hydro systems back in but generally using modern turbines instead of water wheels.
The landscape of the upper valley, of steep sided valleys with small fast flowing rivers, is typical across the whole South Pennine area and ideal for small scale hydro. Whilst the amount of power available is not great, the commuity and heritage aspects bring wider benefits.
If you have, or would like to find out if you have, a potential micro hydro site please contact us. The site is constantly being updated so please come back again soon.
What is hydro-electric power?
Electricity is produced when a flow of water is channelled through a turbine connected to an electricity generator. Two factors are important – the head (vertical drop) of water and the flow. These will determine the amount of energy which can be produced. Hydroelectric schemes can be divided into two broad categories: large scale – more than 5 MW and small scale – less than 5 MW. In the steep sided valleys of the South Pennine catchment area, most of the streams are high head, low flow — below 100 kW. A system producing 1 Kw consistently over a year, would generate 7670 KWh a year. The average house in the area consumes 4300 KWh of electricity a year.
Hydro systems can be connected to the main electricity grid or as stand-alone (off-grid) power systems. In a grid-connected system, any electricity generated but not used can be sold to electricity companies. In an off-grid system, the electricity can be stored in a battery bank. For either system, the source needs to be relatively close to where the power will be used, or to a suitable grid connection.
Below is a video about Talybont-on-Usk community hydropower scheme; a fantastic example.