January update

A little while since our last update and a lot has happened. We have had the turbine up and running in test mode and it has produced some energy. The final step to consistent generation is unfortunately taking a lot longer than we hoped. Firstly we encountered some serious snags in the last stages of the civil work – see previous updates for the huge and rock-hard stump we found right in the place where the screen was supposed to go! The delay there had a knock-on effect on installation of the turbine assembly. Once the turbine was fully in place we encountered some problems with the grid voltages meaning each time we switched it on, it tripped out! Finally the ramifications of the delays and difficulties have caused cashflow problems for the co-op. This has all been especially frustrating because river flows have been good for the last few months, but we’ve been unable to benefit from this to make some much-needed income for the co-op.
We’re pleased to say that after a lot of work and negotiation with suppliers we finally feel like we have a working plan to get the turbine up and running very soon. Firstly the co-op will be making a bond issue of around £20,000 to members to raise the additional working capital we need to cover the over-run. At the same time, we are working intensively with our civils contractors and the turbine suppliers to get the turbine spinning reliably. One silver lining in the situation is that we are benefitting from some of the optimisation which has been carried out on a turbine of the same type installed just before ours.
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About Jon Halle

Jon is a co-founder of the Big Solar Co-op and of Sharenergy Co-operative
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