Every year the Cockburn Society organises a ‘Doors Open’ programme giving people a chance to visit interesting buildings and facilities that are not normally open to the public.
This year Harlaw Hydro is joining in, there will be displays, people to talk to and an opportunity, for those with stout footwear and some hill-climbing ability, to visit the powerhouse at the base of the dam. Also taking part are Friends of the Pentlands, the Malleny Angling Association and the Pentland Regional Park.
This year we have had a wetter summer than for several years but we are still only generating at a lowly 16kWh. Some replenishment was needed after the exceptionally dry spring and then there was a blip when the council lowered the level of Threipmuir quickly to enable them to inspect something more closely but we have been in a pretty steady state since.
However the 12 month rolling total is holding up well and careful inspection of trends will show that despite only generating at 16kWh we are generating more than in the other two summers of operation; in 2015 we were sometimes only generating for 10 hours a day.
Rain is apparently on its way but the driest April since records began followed by only sporadic rain in May means there is very little water to share out. Harlaw and Threipmuir reservoirs were built to provide compensation flow throughout the summer so to run them down in May seems odd. However regulations as they stand require CEC to provide water flows in the Water of Leith that are not matched by recent rainfall. CEC in turn requires Harlaw Hydro to let more water out of the reservoir than is coming in. At the time of writing Harlaw Reservoir is dropping 18 cms a day.
There is still some water and the reservoir is beautiful. Pictures courtesy of Andrew Clark.
On Thursday 30th March we had a visit from a parliamentary committee – not Holyrood, not Westminster but a team of 3 from the Victorian Parliament’s Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee to be precise. The team were lead by Nazih Elasmar and were undertaking an inquiry into community energy projects. As part of that inquiry they are visiting successful community energy projects to examine best practice models for supporting community ownership options in the energy sector.
In the photographs you have Nazih Elasmar, Peter Crisp and Cesar Melhem along with 3 Harlaw Hydro directors, Andrew Clark Martin Petty and Ian Hynd.
All that’s required to appreciate an otherwise wet and miserable day is a hydro scheme – manna from heaven.
Students of the Power Meter will have noted that the rolling 12 month total fell steadily during the winter (last years winter was wonderfully wet) however recent precipitation has turned that round and the number is again rising.
At the end of February we had a hiatus when the power meter lost its feed for a few days. We thought that the comms problems of January were all behind us but apparently not. All seems to be fine now apart from not knowing yet what was caused the blip.
Regular viewers will have noticed that the Power Meter has not been updated all day. This is because at the moment our broadband is not connected.
For some time the broadband link has been erratic but BT have refused to acknowledge any responsibility. However BT have been extending their fibre network and has now upgraded our broadband to fibre; it is fast and should be reliable but . . . at the moment it is not speaking a language that our equipment understands.
We are still generating at about 50 kw / hr and we will be re-connected to the internet as soon as possible.
Once a year CEC undertakes an inspection of the water towers and outflows for the dams in its care. Normally this a routine process that involves draining water tower so surveyors can climb down and inspect. Unfortunately when closing the gate valve to drain the tower this morning the lifting rod detached from the winding mechanism so at present we have no water to generate with. CEC are expediting a repair which we hope will be completed this week.
With water levels so low the loss of power generation is not significant but the weather men and women keep promising rain and it may well come soon so we hope we’re ready for it.