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Why hydropower?

Small Scale Hydropower Is an example of the sensible use of Nature's gifts, in a sustainable manner. A starting point for numerous individual and communal undertakings, able to provide and improve standards of living, while also looking after our planet.
There are estimated to be at least 20,000 run-of-river weirs and water mill sites in the British Isles. Coaley Mill is one of 18 mill sites in the Dursley Valley and there are another 100 mill sites in the adjacent Stroud Valleys, Gloucestershire.
Frequently only the hydropower output of the plant is valued when numerous other benefits accrue to the wider river environment. These include the removal of rubbish, recovery of valuable humus material (leaves, algae etc) for return to the land, improved water quality and the reporting of pollution. Whereas the Environment Agency may express concern over these issues, they rarely recognise the benefits associated with a well operated installation.
Coaley Mill Screen
The above picture shows a stainless steel inlet screen at Coaley Mill, manufactured by Water Power Engineering and OSSBERGER hydraulic screen cleaner, fully galvanised and automated. Price is forgotten long after quality is remembered.

A letter from the National Rivers Authority highlighted these benefits:
  • Aeration of water increases the dissolved oxygen levels and thus improves the water quality. It can also improve the effects of intermittent pollutions.
  • The generating stations act as collection points for water-borne litter and rubbish, which is removed as part of routine maintenance.
  • The generating stations become visual monitoring points for pollution and early detection is essential for effective tracing to the source.

  • Austrian tilt gate
    An automatic tilt gate in the Austrian Lakes, east of Salzburg. Tilt gates are, in effect, adjustable height weirs which allow the passing of storm water, without loss of head. Paddle type sluice gates require continual adjustment as flows vary.

    River Authorities and the Environment Agency should recognise the wider benefits associated with the responsible management of small hydropower schemes. These include the maintenance of watercourses, the control of river levels, the passing of flood waters, the removal of rubbish. Hydropower installations provide a point of focus on a river which may otherwise be neglected. It heightens public awareness of a watercourse’s value.

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