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Tourist attraction turns to green power

[Monday 29 March 2010]

Anthony Roberts of Kilnsey Park

A popular Yorkshire tourist attraction is using green technology to become completely self sufficient for its energy requirements.

Kilnsey Park and Trout Farm near Skipton has installed a small hydroelectric plant to generate power from natural spring water feeding the trout farm.

Depending on flow rates, the generator can produce in excess of 27kW – more than enough to meet all of the park’s electrical requirements - with any excess being sold back into the National Grid at a fixed rate.

And with the introduction of the new feed-in tariff from the beginning of April, guarantying prices for 20 years, park owner and Country Land and Business Association (CLA) member Anthony Roberts is urging other landowners to consider the benefits of going green.

He said:” A guaranteed inflation-proof price is what many landowners and farmers have been waiting for to make sure that an investment in renewable energy makes financial sense.”

Based on an agreed rate of 17p per kW produced plus 3p per kW for all surplus supplies, Anthony predicts that the £20,000 cost of installing the plant will be covered within three to four years.

“The turbine itself is actually quite old technology – all it needs is an occasional squirt of grease and should last for many years to come so my overheads are surprisingly low,” Anthony added.

CLA Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said: “The need to find alternative forms of energy to replace fossil fuel is undisputed. They not only provide a way to reduce the impact of climate change but also create opportunities for investment in the countryside.

“Although a step in the right direction, the feed-in tariff scheme is less ambitious than the CLA had hoped and called for and we will continue to lobby Government to create easier and cheaper connections to the grid for small-scale producers of renewable energy.”

Feedback received on this subject:

Unfortunately for old mill owners (that's owners of old mills!) and users of second-hand equipment such as Mr Roberts, the Government has decided to exclude them from the 'Feed in Tariff Scheme because only 'accredited equipment' and 'accredited installers' can be used.

Unlike solar power where a few large companies sell a few standard products, hydro is bespoke (except for very small units) and the cost of having every product accredited would be horrendous.

After 35 years in the business I am having to abandon most UK projects under 50 kW, so much for promoting UK manufacturing!

Rupert Armstrong Evans - Evans Engineering - Cornwall

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