The hydro plant is currently non-operational and has worked sporadically since it was installed in July 2014. Following initial teething issues Ampair, the company that designed and installed the turbine, went bankrupt in February 2015 leaving the plant not completely functional. NSCH has attempted to work to get the turbine working again with sporadic support from previous Ampair employees and others but it has become clear that a more comprehensive approach is needed.
NSCH believes that the turbine and civil works are fundamentally sound and that the turbine can be brought back into operation. A team has been brought together of members of the Society and supporters from outside the Society. This team aims to get the turbine reliably operating at the relatively low level of 5kW by the winter season beginning October 2018.
This plan is well advanced and technical experts Derwent Hydro are due on site at the end of March 2018 to carry out works aimed at getting the turbine working reliably. A work party of members and supporters is cleaning the site in preparation on 23 March.
Funding has been obtained from 3 sources. Firstly, several members have kindly offered interest-free loans. Second, Sharenergy Co-operative have offered free annual administration for the project to date and deferral of funds owed from the inception of the project (and have also made an interest-free loan). Third, we have had a very generous grant from Leominster Community Solar which has been invaluable in getting us on the right track.