Volunteers who maintain the award-winning Settle Hydro are offering members of the public a special insight into the operation of the giant Archimedes screw and its link to local homes and the National Grid, at a one-off Open Day on Saturday, November 23.
The community-run hydroelectric scheme, based on the River Ribble at Bridge End Mill in the town, was constructed in 2009. As part of its tenth anniversary celebrations, the volunteers behind the project are offering this unique opportunity to go behind the scenes to see inside the powerhouse, understand how the hydro works and learn about the fish pass.
Since its inception, more than 727,221kwh hours of electricity have been produced, the equivalent of powering 30 homes each year and the hydro has saved 79 tons of carbon per year.
Steve Amphlett is one of the small band of volunteers who initiated and still manages the scheme. He said: “We always knew this was going to be an ambitious project, so to reach the landmark of it running for ten years is a real achievement.
“We know a lot of people visit the site, and not just tourists but local residents as well. So the open day gives a chance to offer a more thorough insight into how it all works.”
Steve added: “Projects like this which produce environmentally clean electricity are becoming increasingly more important with climate change. We need to do all we can to reduce our carbon emissions and producing clean energy is a key part of that.”
The clean electricity is generated by water drawn from a weir on the river through a sluice gate, along the mill’s original head race and down the Archimedes Screw, a mighty turbine which, in turn, drives a generator.
The scheme has won numerous awards and over the past ten years, the volunteers have also shared the knowledge gained from operating the project with hundreds of visitors from across the globe tapping into their experience. They have been visited by groups looking to set up their own hydro projects from as far afield as Australia, Kenya and Canada – and even representatives from Obama’s administration in the USA.
For the Open Day, volunteers will be on site from 10.30am to 3pm on November 23 explaining how the project works, how it was created and answering any questions.
Settle Hydro has also launched a new fundraising project to ensure it can keep operating for years to come. For more information, or to support the scheme, visit www.settlehydro.org.uk