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Hydro power
10 May 2010

Richard Body is Coordinator for High Peak Friends of the Earth. He is also a Director of Torrs Hydro New Mills Power Ltd which has set up the UK's first community-owned hydro power scheme.

A modernised version of a 2000 year old Greek invention - the Archimedean screw - produces clean, green and effortless energy. The scheme is now up and running and generating renewable electricity.

Richard told us all about it.

We're returning water power to where water power used to be.

Richard Body

How does it work?

Diagram of an Archimedean screw
A section of the
Archimedean screw showing
the movement of water.

The weight of the river water turns the screw which generates electricity.

The Archimedean screw is fish-friendly - fish can travel through it without being harmed.

Community involvement 

Over 100 local people are shareholders in the Torrs hydro power scheme. 

Each year around £3,000 is invested in local community projects. Shareholders are able to direct where this money goes.

 

How did the project come about?

The developer Water Power Enterprises discovered the site. High Peak Friends of the Earth decided to back it and help them work with the local community.

Did you know?

The 70 kilowatt generator will produce roughly 260,000 kilowatt hours (or units) every year.

Torrs Hydro New Mills Power Ltd.

 

Could the government do more?

More companies would be interested in getting involved in hydro energy schemes if renewable energy received more funding. The government needs to improve support for renewable energy.

Can the scheme inspire others?

Of course. Lots of people tell me that our scheme has already made a difference. They now wonder if they too can get a local mill working to generate electricity.

The scheme uses an Archimedean screw to generate electricity.

The Archimedean screw generates electricity.
 

 There's an old mill where I live. What can I do?

Talk to whoever owns the land and to local people. You can make the water that runs through your town or village work for you for free.

What has been the highlight so far?

Talk to whoever owns the land and to local people. You can make the water that runs through your town or village work for you for free.

Standing on the bridge where the Archimedean screw was lowered from watching it turning slowly and knowing that I helped it happen.

Every little counts! It is a pilot scheme and will inspire other communities to do the same.

Richard Body

Find out more about the Archimedean screw and hydro power in the UK: How hydro power works

Torrs Hydro New Mills Ltd

© Torrs Hydro New Mills Ltd

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