Change Alley

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UK’s First Community Hydro Scheme

with 6 comments

A new community-owned hydro power project has launched a share offer today. Torrs Hydro New Mills Ltd plans to install new hydro-electric technology in the 200 year old weir at the Torrs in New Mills, Derbyshire. The company, a joint venture between Water Power Enterprises and High Peak Friends of the Earth, is an ‘Industrial and Provident Society’ which was officially formed in September 2007. It has four founding directors and has now launched a share offer to help raise £126,000 for the project. Each share will cost £1 with a minimum shareholding of £250 and a maximum of £20,000. Shareholders will get a “modest” rate of interest on the shares, but most of the profit from the project will go as grants for regeneration and environmental projects in the New Mills area.

The hydro project, only the second of its kind to be installed in the UK, will generate enough green electricity for 140 homes, as well as cash to fund local regeneration schemes. It uses a modernised version of a 2000 year old Greek invention – the Archimedean screw – to generate energy. The technology is very efficient at generating electricity from weirs, and has huge potential for installation in other old mill sites throughout the region.

Richard Body of High Peak Friends of the Earth said:

“This region’s got an abundance of water power which can deliver pollution-free energy. By investing in the regeneration of these old hydro sites we can do our bit to tackle climate change and regenerate our communities at the same time. However we also need to see the Government do much more to help renewable technologies such this flourish in the UK. They can start by introducing a strong climate change law which commits the UK to cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by at least 3 percent a year.”

Prospectus (available by download from Saturday 24th November 2007)

High Peak FoE Press releases

Water Power Enterprises


6 Responses

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  1. Friends of Eurostar (FoE) are very busy with partnerships lately. Difficult to fault this one.


    November 25, 2007 at 10:08 am

  2. I am Coordinator of the High Peak Friends of the Earth local group and also a director in Torrs Hydro New Mills Limited but High Peak FoE only supported the development of Torrs Hydro it is not a joint venture that’s a bit of mis-reporting.

    Richard Body

    November 25, 2007 at 11:29 pm

  3. Really? We can only report what we see and hear. If I read in a High Peak FoE press release
    “Torrs Hydro New Mills Ltd, a company was formed by High Peak Friends of the Earth and Water Power Enterprises”
    that sounds very much like a joint venture to me.

    Pete Smith

    November 26, 2007 at 7:24 am

  4. OK, so it was our mis-reporting then. That slipped through. I will get it changed on our website. As you can imagine, the creation of Torrs Hydro would make a long story. High Peak FoE are firmly behind this project (as are National FoE). I suggest the wording would be more like:
    Torrs Hydro New Mills Ltd, a company formed by local people (many members of High Peak Friends of the Earth) will work, with the developer Water Power Enterprises, to install new hydroelectric technology in the 200 year old weir at the Torrs in New Mills, Derbyshire.
    We have had lots of interest from across the whole of the UK for our project. Thank you.

    Richard Body

    November 29, 2007 at 10:39 am

  5. Pete is a stickler for detail but rightly so. Investment relationships are important. Good luck with the project. Your organisation maybe interested in a similar project already up and running down in Lyme Regis.


    November 29, 2007 at 11:29 am

  6. Pete and all – you’ll be glad to hear we are now up and running – check out


    October 11, 2008 at 12:02 am

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