Pints, Pounds and People – Stickle Ghyll Hydro
On Thursday 8th September, representatives from ten organisations gathered at the Sticklebarn Tavern in Stickle Gyhll, Langdale, to share ideas and hear firsthand experience of developing a hydro-electric scheme. The day opened with an introduction by Garry Sharples, the National Trust’s Environmental Practises Adviser for the Lake District Hub. Garry has been at the heart of the hydro installation at Stickle Ghyll, which is one of five pilot projects by the National Trust and is seeking to save money to be used for local conservation work as well as to provide renewable electricity to local homes.
Garry talked through some of the challenges and the successes of the project at Stickle Ghyll, including overcoming public perception of this type of work in a national park. Sticklebarn is a fantastic opportunity as it provides a space to engage the public in conversation about renewables and the benefits they can have locally.
After outlining the journey from planning through to delivery, Garry led the group on a tour of the hydro – starting at the intake where he answered questions from delegates who have been seeking to deliver hydro systems of their own. It was incredibly helpful to have Amanda Cruddas present from the Environment Agency, who could give practical advice and guidance on the steps that organisations would need to take to successfully secure for permission for installing a hydro plant. She also ran a session later in the day to take further questions.
Garry then took the group into the power house and turbine, which experienced a temporary shutdown following a power cut! A helpful demonstration of how hydro is still dependent on the grid to run.
Following the tour and a lunch break, the group heard from Keith Jones, the National Trust’s Environment Adviser for Wales, on new models for buying and selling renewables and how charities can finance hydro effectively. This explored the unique challenges that charities face, the difficulties interpreting data provided by electricity providers and various models for selling electricity that could bring the most benefit.
This was followed by a practical talk on the installation of small-scale hydro from Miles Poselthwaite of Border Hydro Ltd, who gave a number of examples that delegates could take away with them and apply to their own setting. Finally, we heard case studies from Phil Davies of Community Energy Cumbria of the support for and impact of local renewables.
If you would like to find out any more information about these topics, or are interested in attending a similar event, please get in touch.
You can also download some guidance from the Environment Agency on planning and installing hydro.