The Northern Powerhouse
A hydroelectric plant that cost just £2.1m, generates enough electricity to power 300 homes for eleven months of the year for the next 100 years, completed on time and on budget, and also doing its bit to help salmon spawn? Sounds almost too good to be true, but the largest hydroelectric power plant to be commissioned in the UK over the last three years and the biggest ever to be built in Yorkshire has officially opened. The plant comprises two turbines powered by the River Don near Rotherham, and also includes a fish and eel passage to enable salmon and trout to swim upstream. The hope is that without weirs blocking their way, salmon will eventually spawn in Sheffield for the first time in more than 100 years. Speaking at the opening of the plant, Mark Simon (or is that salmon?), Chief Executive of developer Barn Energy, said “In making this special project happen, we have worked tirelessly… to ensure that hydropower enriches and repairs the local environment of the River Don, as well as reduce our burning of fossil fuels. This project…can justifiably be regarded as an exemplar for renewable energy in this country. It offers baseload electricity, delivering clean energy highly efficiently into the local grid. It is a very long term source of clean electricity – there’s no reason why (it) won’t be running into the next century.” Barn Energy has plans to build two further projects in Yorkshire on the River Aire over the next two or three years as well as larger projects on the River Ouse and River Trent. Keep ’em coming Barn Energy.