Dane Valley Community Energy Limited has secured a grant of £16,800 to conduct a feasibility study to construct micro-hydro power generating equipment on Havannah Weir in Congleton. The contract for the study has been awarded to Derwent Hydro, based in Duffield, Derbyshire who have 20 years’ experience in design and installation of hydro schemes.

The feasibility study will establish the water flow over the weir and calculate the potential for electricity generation, together with the costs of the civil engineering work to build the scheme, the permissions from the Environment Agency to use the river and initial views on Planning Permission from Cheshire East Council.

The grant has been awarded from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF). RCEF is a £15 million programme, delivered by WRAP and jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). It supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community. For more information on RCEF, visit www.wrap.org.uk/renewables.

To be awarded the grant Congleton Sustainability Group formed Dane Valley Community Energy Limited to manage the project with Paul Guymer, Mervyn Sara and Peter Aston as voluntary directors.

The feasibility study started during November and is expected to be completed by April next year. If the report concludes that generating electricity from the River Dane at Havannah creates sufficient income, then a community share scheme to raise the capital will be launched in the town. Shareholders will then receive a regular dividend from the generating income and it is intended that sufficient funds will be available after paying for maintenance of the equipment to fund projects focused on improving the local environment and its sustainability. As one of the first community based generation schemes in the Cheshire East region, the project will provide an ideal vehicle for involvement by local companies and institutions which care about their environmental credentials.

Paul Guymer who led the project to investigate micro-hydro power generation on the Town Weir in Congleton Park in 2012 said that “It would be wonderful if this scheme proves to be feasible. The Park scheme may not have generated sufficient power to pay for itself whereas the Havannah Weir at 4 metres high is almost twice the height and therefore offers much better prospects of being feasible.”

For further information, contact Peter Aston on 07971 805372, or check out updates about Dane Valley Community Energy Limited at www.congletonpartnership.co.uk/sustainability.

Notes for editors: First established in 2000, WRAP is a registered charity. WRAP works with UK Governments and other funders to help deliver their policies on waste prevention and resource efficiency.