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.
Good news!! The blacksmith has repaired the winding mechanism for the plate valve and reinstalled it. The valve is now open, there is plenty of water in the reservoir and we are now generating again.
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.
#Pitchfever was a wonderful community effort which raised a substantial amount of money to convert the hockey pitch at Balerno High School into a 2G pitch. However a little more money was needed to get across the line and the Balerno Village Trust asked Harlaw Hydro to advance £4,000 to enable the project to go ahead. Harlaw Hydro Ltd was delighted to be able to help this excellent community venture.
The pitch is now operational and being used by the schools, the formal opening will be on Saturday 29th October.
There are a number of community organisations following in our footsteps and have formed community benefit cooperatives to raise capital through share issues in order to generate green energy. Like us they expect to pay interest on the capital investment.
Harlaw Hydro is in no position to recommend for or against any investment but we can provide links. If you follow the links below people can make their own judgement.
- AWEL Coop a Welsh community coop aiming to raise £2m for a windfarm; minimum investment £50 anticipated interest 5%.
- Broom Power a Scottish community coop aiming to raise £900,000 for a micro hydro scheme; minimum investment £300, targeted interest 4%.
We have now generated over 300,000 kWh!
In our first operational year revenue earned in 8 months exceeded the projected annual return; 255,563 kWh was generated in 8 months compared with 260,000 kWh for the year; Interest will be paid to investors and money donated to Balerno Village Trust a year ahead of forecast. A word of caution “reservoirs can go down as well as up”.
Fergus Ewing pressing the start button.