The Hexham River Hydro Project group is proposing that a modest turbine be installed in the River Tyne near Hexham. If successful, the hydro facility would supply the average electricity consumption of 150 houses for a whole year.
The hydro project has been short-listed for the national final round of the energyshare contest - www.energyshare.
The winner of this final round is being decided by an online vote, which began on November 15 and ends on December 3 at 5pm.
As of today the Hexham scheme had 26.7 % share of the vote. However, there is growing support for the bid lying second, Sheffield Renewables, which currently has 23%. So residents and people across Northumberland are being urged to vote for the Hexham scheme on www.energyshare.com/voting.
The hydro project is a joint initiative by Hexham Community Partnership and Transition Tynedale. Project spokesperson Catriona Mulligan explained that the power generated by the hydro project would be sold to the national grid and will generate an income of at least £30,000 each year and every year.
The income will be an important and sustainable funding stream for a wide range of community schemes such as Hexham East End Regeneration Projects, Green Energy Fairs, public events such as ‘Spook Night’ and farmers’ markets supporting Hexham and the wider region.
The project group says the turbine will be non-intrusive and friendly to fish. “The market town’s Tyne Green Country Park will continue to be well used by local people and visitors alike for canoeing, rowing, fishing, wildlife and dog walking and a perfect place for families,” says Catriona. “Hexham River Hydro will become an added attraction benefiting local people and local businesses.
“We have selected an ‘Archimedes Screw’ turbine because the Environment Agency and the hydro industry all say it is ‘fish-friendly’,” she added. “And we will take expert advice to ensure that every step is carefully considered and monitoring firmly in place to ensure minimal disturbance to plants, birds and animals that live in and around the river.
“We’re encouraging people to vote for us because this scheme will be good for the environment and good for our community and everyone’s future.”