Hydro-electric catch-up meeting

On Wednesday 26 October from 8.15pm at Little Paxton Hub there will be a public meeting about our hydro-electric projects. This is your chance to find out how far we got with projects as well as an opportunity to chat with members of the team. We hope you can make it.

Q&A with the public

How much will the installation cost?

Difficult to say. The estimate provided by our initial contractor was 2.8 million. Our new contractor will provide a more detailed analysis with a different costing.

  • Ongoing cost of maintenance?
  • Terms and cost of site lease?
  • Assumptions of payback electricity?

All these costs are not yet available for reasons given above

Who is doing the feasibility survey?

The Full Feasibility Study was completed by Hydroplan in December 2021. It was accepted by WGE. The contractor commissioned to do the next phase of Business and Development Planning is TLS Renewables Consulting.

When will it be available to locals?

The Feasibility Study is in the process of being linked to our website. TLS are scheduled to report in September 2023.

Why did we change contractor?

Hydroplan would not accept a “fixed priced” contract. We could not risk paying costs which may spiral.

Does the government’s plans to curtail costs paid to generators effect costings?

No guidance available yet on spot price for renewable energy generators.

Website says “comparatively quiet…but to what? What is db rating?

No data available yet, Noise assessment is yet to be done. Very little difference expected from noise of surge over sluice as at present.

How long to construct? What is involved? Digging under road? Road closed? How long?

No available information yet.

How much CO2 involved in construction of the site/delivery of the whole project?

There will be CO2 expended in construction and in delivery and manufacture  of materials .No details yet. Installation should be carbon negative by year three.

Building on a flood plain?

Installation will not increase flood risk and be flood proofed.

Flood prevention at The Mill but is that just moving the water further along the village (Skippers Way, The Offords?)

Capacity to move water downstream will improve .TLS will monitor flow for up to 6 months ,part of which time is expected to be in flood. Overall, we are diverting a very small percentage of river water .

What happens to turbines during flood?Can they be switched off and by whom?

The Environment Agency controls the flow of water through the turbines . The turbines can be switched on or off.

How will the turbine effect the local environment, wildlife, flora and fauna?

The Habitat and Species survey has been conducted and forwarded to the EA .They will not issue a licence if species are in danger. The report gives an environmental clean bill of health. Fish and eel survey still to be conducted.

What measures are being put in place to keep debris that is swept down the river during flood, away from the turbines.

Trash screens and fine screens will be put in place and must be approved by the EA.

What screening will be provided for the residents of Skippers Way?

Plantings of willow and alder will enhance the current landscape and suitable native hedging screening will be planted around the powerhouse.

While the system is CO neutral, how much embedded CO2 is there?

See answers above.

Can we substantiate flood risk reduction from system?

Modelling data will be produced as part of the current phase of development

Will there be much noise?

See four answers above.

Where does it connect?

Connection to the National Grid will be via a sub-Station in Skipper Way. Our power will be put into the grid and probably sold to an ethical supplier or directly to a large end-user through a Power Purchase Agreement .

Where has this been done successfully before?

Lots of examples of successful community hydros throughout UK. We are in contact with Croxford Mill and Totnes. This link will show you where they all are.

How does projected generation compare to actual?

Some installation’s websites give these details

What is the lifespan of a turbine?

Typically, in excess of 50 years.

Where will the electricity be used? Can we use it locally?

No facility available yet.

Where will it link to the grid?

See above.

Capacity to take all the electricity generated?

The National Grid will connect us to a sub-station that will take 200 kw of our power .We are capable of generating a lot more but they have not a cable of sufficient capacity within a viable distance, hence the limitation.

Why link to the grid?

Local direct wiring is the only other possibility. The two nearest possible end-users have been approached, neither has expressed interest.

What is the time scale?

We aim to complete preparatory work and financing by December 2023, install in Spring 2024 and generate during this year.

Where else was evaluated along The River Great Ouse?

We drew on EA research of the River Ouse. Of all possible sites, Little Paxton was ranked second. The highest ranked site was at Eaton Socon. Although ranked highest in generating capability it is unlikely that the EA would have granted a licence as one already exists at this site.

Where can we see a Kaplan scheme working now?

Most are in Europe .There are several in the UK but most were set up some time ago and lack the technical sophistication of what we intend here.