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.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Fish Pass Clearance

SPRITE have posted a video of their massive efforts to clean up the fish pass on the River Don at Niagara Weir following a double spate.

'Only a few weeks after an exhausting effort to clear flood debris from the fish pass at Niagara weir on the River Don, another spate set things back to square one in July 2012. The local volunteers of the community group SPRITE set to work again and, along with their multiple additional works, become part of a long legacy of groups and heroic individuals from Yorkshire who have helped this post industrial river onto a fragile recovery path. It is significant that these works are going on at a time of great political pressure for widespread adoption of low-energy producing and ecologically damaging micro- hydropower schemes. These give a financial imperative to retain the impounding barriers in their entirety and also limit the efficacy of fish passes.'

Fish Pass Clearance by SPRITE from Paul Gaskell on Vimeo.

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