Hydro-electricity report shows potential in Audlem

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Regular readers will recall that in late June, a specialist hydro-electricity company, DerwentHydro, were invited to Audlem to see if there was any potential to generate electricity from the lock system on the Shropshire Union canal without any adverse effect on normal operations. DerwentHydro are experts in small scale hydro-electricity schemes and have worked on rivers, mill races and the like across Britain. The idea was, of course, discussed with British Waterways prior to the visit.

The feasibility study has now been received and Oliver Paish and Jon Needle of DerwentHydro say they would expect potential generation to fall within the range of 125,000 to 175,000 kWh/year. This is the equivalent electrical consumption of 40 to 50 homes.

The system could export the power into the local network and be sold to an electricity company. The value of the electricity generated by the scheme would currently be in the range of £10 — £15,000 per year.

This would require a considerable investment in an underground pipe alongside a stretch of the canal and generating equipment. But, compared with many alternative methods of generating electricity, the costs are not out of the question, particularly as grants are said to be available for 'green' electricity. The idea will now be discussed in more detail with British Waterways.

The costs of the report have been covered by an environmental trust that aims to encourage alternative local sources of power. Other Cheshire communities, including Nantwich and Congleton, are looking at small-scale hydro schemes.


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