A special event in the Tyne Valley is set to consider how the region can harness the power of running water to generate green energy.
The Energy and Environmental Industries Forum (EEIF) will consider how the construction of a series of micro-hydro projects on the Tyne River in Hexham could be a viable energy source for the surrounding area
If the HexhamRiverHydro was successfully realised, it has the potential to generate more than 100kW of power for 150 homes in the local community each year.
The project is a joint initiative between Hexham Community Partnership and Transition Tynedale, and will use a modern version of the Archimedes Screw to harness water power using a water wheel installed on a weir.
It is believed that the project could result in a carbon saving of more than 400 tonnes of carbon each year for over 40 years.
Speakers at the Highlighting Hydro event will include Catriona Mulligan from Hexham Hydro along with Karen Keast from global environmental consultancy Mott Macdonald. Mulligan will give an overview of the project so far, while Karen will provide an insight into the environmental challenges affecting hydro projects.
Catriona now believes that those behind the proposals should take inspiration from other successful hydro projects across the UK. She said: “Hydro projects like this have the potential to generate energy on a local scale cleanly, efficiently and inexpensively and the technology available to do it is low tech.
“It’s an excellent location and we have lots of support in principle but we need to be sure there will be no negative impact on the river and are exploring this.
‘We’re optimistic about the project’s future and hope if everything goes well it could be up and running in 2013.”
Nikki Silcock from the EEIF added: “Hydro power is a real untapped resource at the moment but is a key element of the Renewable Energy Strategy as a way of generating energy electricity from micro and small scale schemes.
“The North East, with its abundance of hills and rivers, is well placed to capitalise on the role hydro power can play in the drive to achieving our renewable energy targets.
“We’re delighted to be joined by Hexham Hydro, which is a really exciting project and the first of its kind in the area.”