This is the official statement from Sheffield Renewables on the Kelham Island hydropower project:
Kelham Island has always been a small scheme and therefore difficult
financially. Following on from what we have learned from Jordan Dam, we
have further concerns about the viability of this scheme. We do not
currently have the resource within the group to work through these,
therefore we are concentrating our efforts elsewhere for the foreseeable
We do believe it has a great potential for outreach and as a celebration
of Sheffield’s culture, whilst providing a small but significant
contribution to energy demand in the city. Therefore, if any
opportunities arise for us to partner with organisations to enable this
scheme to happen, we would be very pleased to do so.
Needless to say this is fantastic news for those who opposed the scheme in
Sheffield and I'm very grateful to all those who signed the petition. The planning consent will expire in Jan 2015 but I really
can't see a way back for it now, and wish Sheffield Renewables all the best in their new ventures, creating genuinely green solutions such as Solar PV arrays for the city.
The lesson from both these abandoned schemes which at first seemed so 'eco-friendly' and profitable, must surely be that the small-scale, low-head, hydropower simply cannot work efficiently and cost-effectively for either man or the environment and we are far better off looking towards genuinely sustainable and 'green' means of energy generation.
Of course the questions about Sheffield's weirs remain. They still continue to pose a barrier to fish migration and cause significant problems for bio-diversity in their canalised upstream sections. Here's an exciting prospect from the Irwell Rivers Trust, although I don't anticipate anything quite so radical happening in Sheffield any time soon!
There's also excellent news from The Wandle Trust that two weirs are being removed from the Hogsmill. See here and here.
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.