Major hydro scheme begins in Lancashire

Area: Forge Weir
Area: Forge Weir
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The biggest community hydro scheme in England has begun powering homes and offices near Lancaster.

A 100kW hydro-electric turbine, at Forge Weir in Halton, arrived from the Czech Republic last month and started generating electricity earlier this month.

The 30m long installation on the Halton side of the river Lune has been under construction for almost a year. Work is still to be done to the building, which will be finished in natural stone, with a slate roof and timber clad entrance area.

The £1.6m project will also feature interactive educational facilities.

The electricity generated will power homes at the nearby Lancaster Cohousing development, as well as businesses at Halton Mill and homes in the surrounding area via the National Grid.

Kevin Frea, who is a director of Halton Lune Hydro, alongside Brian Jefferson, John Blowes, and Alan Denham, said that the aim was to be able to sell electricity generated by a second 100kW turbine to households in Halton by next December.

When both turbines are up and running, it is expected that there will be enough energy to power 300 homes, roughly one third of the total number in the Halton parish area.

It has been said that fixed income prices for energy produced by the turbine would only increase with inflation.

Mr Jefferson said: “This is the only scheme of its kind in England.

“Lots of people are coming to talk to us about it, and we’ve advised at least five other hydro schemes. We’re really happy with where we are.”

Profits from the scheme would go into the parish of Halton-with-Aughton and surrounding areasas via the Halton Lune Trust.

that receives all profits from the hydro company.