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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Settle Hydro - EA evidence that fishery is affected

The EA investigations into complaints about the Settle hydro scheme have begun. The basis of the complaints are that the scheme is affecting fish migration, in particular Salmon, which are prevalent in the River Ribble on which the hydro station stands. From the Yorkshire Post article: Brian Shields, senior fisheries specialist for the Environment Agency, said: “ We believe there is sufficient evidence that fisheries have been affected for some form of action to be taken. “There is a whole range of options and in discussion with the operators we will have to find something that is workable and legally enforceable.” It seems the scheme isn't exactly living up to its 'environmental' plaudits after all and all for the sake of just 50 homes worth of electricity per year.

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