March News Letter

30 April 2017

GREENSCENE: Wakefield Green Party Newsletter (Spring issue - March 2017)

Hydro Power comes to Wakefield.

 Kirkthorpe Hydropower Plant.

It was pleasing to see the report in the Wakefield Express (Friday, March 17th p.18) – “ £5.3m hydro scheme is running”, because there is a little bit of history behind this project:

Back in November 2009, I received an email from Southeast Power Engineering, who had seen a reference to Kirkthorpe Weir on our WGP web-site, and wondered if  “the project ever went forward”. At that time there was no sign of any activity, as I reported.

I was able to research local planning applications via the Council and check on copies deposited in the Reference Library (where I then worked.) I also mentioned the interest from the Yorkshire Angling Federation about potential “water extraction”.

SPE wanted to know details of river widths and weir-head heights at both Calder Bridge and Kirkthorpe  Weir, and I was able to provide some figures, and suggest that Kirkthorpe was the better prospect (more powerful and less silting).

Our exchange of messages showed that there was an earlier planning application by Imogy (RWE/nPower) who were scouting the country for potential site(s) for hydropower schemes. Various companies were now taking an interest. SPE explained that they were a development company which brought “financing to the table and provide a means for  community participation“. (We compared the successful scheme at Settle, North Yorkshire, as a good example).

It was thought a 200kw capacity would make for a good project. As we now know, the Kirkthorpe hydropower scheme can produce 500 kw for a cost of £5.3m over a potential life-time of 100 years!

SPE seemed grateful for my support and information and little more was heard. But then the work began under Barn Energy, and has just now been completed (see. Wakefield Express article, and the Barn Energy web—site ( ) where they also report on a hydro scheme near completion at Knottingley,  and others near Rotherham and Nottingham.

Although WMDC is reported as a partner in the scheme, it does not follow the model of “community participation” that Settle does, but no matter. We now have a clean energy project in our area, and another to follow soon.

Perhaps WGP members would like to hold a social meet-up and visit these sites? I shall certainly be going on a visit soon, so let me know.

For more pictures, see here: