Neen Sollars Community Hydro is building a 12.5kW hydroelectric installation at Tetstill Mill, Neen Sollars on the River Rea. The project is funded by a co-operative share issue and owned by local people. It will produce green electricity to the local electrical grid, providing around 20% of the domestic power use in Neen Sollars.
- practical generation of green electricity
- local involvement in owning and running a renewable generation system
- awareness raising and education in the local area
- a modest annual income for a local charity
- entirely conceived and executed by local people
- working alongside wider attempts to improve the ecological status of the Rea
The rain has come right on time as we enter what is hopefully the final week of installation. The famous stump that we found at the base of the weir has been removed finally and last Friday the slab which will sit below the inlet screen was cast. The screen is set to go in place towards the end of the week – then we can remove the temporary dam and the installation will be physically complete. Our turbine ought to see its first flows for commissioning purposes sometime next week – if that goes well we hope to harvest a little of this rain perhaps even before October is out.
They say 90% of a hydro project is in the civil engineering. These photos just in really show how much work has gone in. The first picture is from the period of floods when work on this area was just starting:
We’re still awaiting the turbine itself but assured that it is on its way very soon!
The turbine house is finished and the capture ring is in place – this is the interface between the turbine and its housing. The draft tube will be next – this is the outflow of the turbine – we have agreed a slight shape modification which will increase efficiency. After that the propellor itself and the generator will go in – this should take a couple more weeks and we will be ready to make power from the rain now falling!
Some great pictures from site showing the sluice gate in place and the precision concrete housings for the turbine – you can clearly see the hole in which it will sit. We are expecting the first parts of the turbine to go in shortly.
The project has nearly spent the 70% of its share capital required to apply for the SEED EIS forms and will be doing so soon – members in the habit of filling in tax forms early may wish to wait for these!
A story covering the delays with some good pictures of the installation in progress is here:
A lot of work has been going on at Tetstill – perhaps not spectacular but necessary work to prepare the wheel pit for the turbine enclosure. Some redesign of the enclosure itself has been necessary to make sure the generator and control gear are adequately protected from floods. All this has meant that we are slightly behind schedule – still on for April turbine installation however. The pictures show the underpinning and strengthening of both wheel pits. We think the stone facing looks excellent – we are creating the heritage of the future after all…
Installation work continues at a good pace, despite inevitable delays caused by the near-constant floods for the last few months, now alternating with periods of low temperatures which mean concrete work cannot be carried out.
The cofferdam upstream and downstream is holding well despite the River Rea flowing fast over the last two months, the tailrace is now largely completed with gabion baskets, and work has started in the original wheel pit strengthening walls and making the concrete structure for housing turbine and generator. NSCH has already contracted a local electrician to prepare for the generator installation and dovetail the necessary work connecting to grid. We reckon to be generating around Easter at this rate.
After completing work on the tailrace and a break to allow completion of the salmon run, we are now working on the sluice area – removing silt from the floods and preparing to excavate the turbine tailrace and prepare the concrete box in which the turbine will sit. In the New Year we will be getting to the high-tech bit!