River Don Energy

Tin Mill Rocher - one of the possible hydro sites

Tin Mill Rocher - one of the possible hydro sites

The aim of this project is to generate electricity from the River Don. Historically the power of the river has been harnessed to drive water wheels to power flour mills and for industry (eg Wortley Top Forge).

The project began in 2008 when we carried out a preliminary survey of the weirs along the river to estimate how much power each might produce. This was followed up by site visits by hydro experts on three possible sites above Penistone.  We discovered that the owner of one site was already thinking of investing in a hydro scheme. For another site the weir was probably in too bad a state of repair to proceed. At a third site we were unable to interest the landowner.

The perfect hydro site has is a well maintained weir with a good drop which is close by a point where the electricty could be fed into the grid.

Our inspiration came from a project at New Mills in Derbyshire where the community owned Torrs Hydro has installed an archemedian screw to generate power which the company sells to a local supermarket (see www.torrshydro.org ). About a third of the capital for this project came from local people buying shares in the company.

A grant from Eaga via South Yorkshire Community Foundation enable us to get an expert survey of the whole catchment down as far as Deepcar. The report highlighted four weirs on the stretch of the river around Thurgoland and Wortley as having potential but also pointed out that abstraction for public water supply at Winscar and Scout Dyke Reservoirs reduced the natural flow in the river . One of the potential site already has a recently installed turbines for generating electricity.

At two other sites the land owners have agreed to cooperate in the next stage to carry out detailed feasilbility survey on these sites. We are curently fund raising to do this work.

We are also investigating what sort of company we need to set up to raise funds and build each one. It is estimated that the total electricity generated from each site would power about 80 households.