A Lake District spa resort is now generating its own electricity thanks to a hydropower project driven by a water fed turbine.

Drawing on the natural water supply from a fellside beck, English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues has installed the turbine at its flagship site on Windermere, Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa.

An 860 metre pipe is conveying water at up to 79 litres per second to the turbine, which is housed in a Lakeland style dry stone building to blend in with the local environment.

The hydropower system is fully automatic, with the turbine adjusting the flow through the jets according to the available water.  It is expected to generate a power output of 53kW to 60kW to attain 180MWh to 200MWh of electricity each year, roughly equivalent to powering 50 homes a year.

Tim Berry from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues says: “This is the latest environmental initiative at the resort, designed to tap into the natural energy source of the fellside beck we have on site.  We’re already on target to create enough energy for about a third of our electricity needs for the venue.

“Combined with the 2,000 trees we planted here at Low Wood Bay in memory of my father Michael Berry, we will now be offsetting 500 tonnes of CO2 per year.

“Run-of-the-river hydro-electric projects like this are more environmentally friendly and we have gone through a rigorous environmental checklist to ensure that there are no adverse effects on the environment and that scenery and wildlife are unaffected.

“We’ve received invaluable help and support throughout the project from the turbine manufacturers, Hydrolite Ltd.  They are experts at working with local communities and smaller sites to establish sustainable energy from renewable sources.”

Hydropower utilises the kinetic energy of water flowing downhill to drive a turbine that creates the electricity. A key advantage of hydro energy over wind or solar power is that energy production is continuous and less dependent on changeable weather conditions. It also offers the capability to respond very quickly to fluctuations in demand.

Roberto Sotgiu, managing director of Hydrolite Ltd:  “Low Wood Bay has the right conditions for an effective hydro-power scheme, so it’s been a fruitful and exciting project for us to work on.  Now the resort can start to enjoy the benefit of its own renewable energy generated on site.

“Hydropower is one of the oldest methods of generating electricity, harnessing running water, without reducing its quantity. Globally, it now accounts for around 17% of the world’s electricity production.  Norway leads the way in this field, producing over 95% of its power from hydro-electric installations.”

English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues has worked with the Lake District National Park Authority and the Environment Agency on the project, with Penrith based GPHL as lead contractor and Ellergreen Hydro as principle designer.

The hotel group has achieved the Green Key international eco‐label for its venues, an internationally recognised accolade for its approach to sustainability and eco-tourism.