Planning permission has been granted for a micro hydro scheme on the River Don at Kelham Island in Sheffield, despite the fact that it will generate enough electricity to power just 20 homes per year, provided there is enough rainfall and the scheme is managed and operated with maximum efficiency. The scheme in Sheffield is not unique - many thousands of sites across the UK have been identified as 'suitable' for micro hydro development and they are being universally sold as a serious 'green' alternative, a key part of Britain's energy future and a lucrative 'community-based' investment that will help power the nation, paying sustainable dividends to those willing to part with their cash. This blog is a public resource designed to demonstrate the negative ecological impacts of 'low-head' or 'run-of-river' micro hydro schemes and asks why UK taxpayers are funding their development despite the fact that the evidence from the world over is that they do far more environmental damage than good.

Watch the film, 'Kelham Island Hydro', and ask whether what boils down to be a few kettles' worth of hydro-generated electricity is proportionate to the decimation of our little-understood and very fragile river ecosystems.

If you have problems viewing the film from here, please view on Vimeo or watch on Google where you can also download to your pc.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Condit Dam 'removal' videos

Here's a couple of vids from the States showing the rationale behind the demolition of Condit Dam in Elwha Valley, replete with stunning footage of the moment of detonation. Although the Dam was an enormous obstruction to fish movement, fish have already started to re-colonise the river.  It doesn't take any great leap of imagination to transfer the thinking behind this ecologically-driven initiative to the thousands of obstructions that still exist on UK rivers.

Condit Dam Removal Explained from Andy Maser on Vimeo.

The Craziest Idea from Andy Maser on Vimeo.

Thanks to WS and PG

Monday, 16 January 2012

Kelham Island Hydro Given Go-Ahead

Sheffield City Council today approved the Kelham Island Hydro proposal with some significant mitigation conditions that willl need to be resolved before any development gets under way. The Environment Agency and ecologists were instrumental in ensuring these conditions were imposed.

The full document can be read here and the relevant info starts at page 5.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

High-head hydro scheme proposed for Pennines

A seemingly sensible scheme is being developed on Dove Stone reservoir. The difference between this and 'run-of-river' or 'low-head' schemes is that it capitalises on controlled releases from a man-made reservoir. Guardian piece is here