Newspapers report on possibility of hydro generated electricity

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Today's Chronicle and the Evening Sentinel have reported on the investigation that will take place in the New Year into the possible generation of electricity from the sluice gates on the Shropshire Union Canal's locks through Audlem. The village has just gained a grant from the William Dean Trust to pay for the initial feasibility study.

Mike Hill from Audlem Parish Council and Bob Cartwright from the Parish Plan group met with British Waterways managers Andy Wilkinson and Tania Kershaw this week to discuss the proposal. BW are happy for the assessment to go ahead in principle, although they did say they had investigated other schemes but there had been insufficient potential to go ahead with them.

The study will be carried out by DerwentHydro of Duffield, Derbyshire. Mike and Bob visited them, along with representatives from Nantwich and Congleton in September, before applying for the grant. There are an estimated 150 schemes in action across the country using rivers to create power. Normally a drop of over six feet is required with a sufficient water flow which means the canal locks, which cover a drop of 93 feet over the length of the 15 locks, has potential. But issues like the regular clearance of debris from the generator and the impact on what are historical structures have to be taken into consideration.

Mike Hill is quoted in the report saying: "I think this would be a move in the right direction. People go on about wind farms but using water has been overlooked." There have been reports recently about how inefficient the land-based wind farms are but there is keen interest in 'green' electricity generation, including many small scale schemes.

Nantwich is considering a scheme near Waterlode at Mill Race on the River Weaver. Former Nantwich councillor Doug Butterill, who arranged the visit to DerwentHydro, is also quoted in the Chronicle article.


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