Biggest hydro-electric project in the Lake District launched

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A new £1.5 MILLION green energy scheme will turn a Cumbrian stream into a mini power station and be the biggest hydro-electric project in the Lake District.

The renewable energy scheme will provide electricity for hundreds of homes from a small weir on a mountain stream. It involves a 60cm buried pipe running 1km downhill, and a small stone and slate barn housing the water turbine and other generating equipment.

Located at Logan Gill, a tributary of the River Duddon, near Broughton in Furness, the hydro-electric project will provide enough energy to cater annually for 1,000 people, equivalent to the size of the village of Grasmere, and will save 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

It is one of the first renewable energy schemes in UK to benefit from the governments new ‘Clean Energy Cashback’ initiative, a scheme that allows energy suppliers make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources.

The development has been undertaken by Ellergreen Hydro, a start-up business founded by Mark Cropper, who is also chairman of Cumbria paper manufacturer James Cropper plc, and Charles Crewdson, chairman of renewable energy manufacturer Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon, also located in the county.

The project was financed by The Co-operative Bank, which has dedicated expertise in supporting small to medium scale renewable energy projects. In 2007, it ring-fenced £400m specifically to fund the development of renewable energy and carbon reduction projects.

“Logan Gill is not only a 100 percent UK plc project but also a showcase of the superb know-how and technology that exists in this area of the country”, said Mr Cropper. “The project was conceived and designed locally by specialist hydro consultants Inter Hydro, built by local contractors, and at its heart we have installed a hydro-electric turbine made by Gilkes of Kendal, who have been global hydro industry leaders for over 150 years.”

The success of the project has also been assured by the support given by other leading UK renewable energy organisations. The power generated at Logan Gill has been purchased by Good Energy, the UK’s leading renewable electricity supplier, which provides sustainable electricity for a community of 26,000 customers nationwide.

Juliet Davenport, founder and chief executive of Good Energy, said: “I’m very pleased that electricity from Logan Gill will be going to supply our customers who have chosen to buy certified renewable electricity.
It is a fantastic example of home-grown energy. Small-scale renewable generators like Logan Gill are helping change the energy landscape in the UK as we shift from brown to green and from big centralised power stations to thousands of small distributed renewable generators. It is steps like these that are improving the UK’s energy security and making a difference to climate change.”

Chris Matthews, Senior Renewable Energy Manager at The Co-operative Bank: “We have been delighted to work with the determined team from Ellergreen in making this project happen. For the UK to successfully move to a low carbon economy, it will need more projects like Logan Gill. The benefits go beyond climate change, with a clear positive impact for the local community.”

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