Barn Energy completes 500-kW Knottingley small hydro facility

UK-based hydropower developer Barn Energy recently commissioned the 500-kW Knottingley small hydro facility on the River Aire near Knottingley.

The facility features a dual Kaplan turbine-generator unit manufactured by Gugler Water Turbines, with estimated annual generation of 3 million kWh. The company says Knottingley cost £7.5 million to develop and is generating electricity for a local flour mill and the local grid.

It was commissioned last month at the existing Brotherton Weir. This weir is “the first significant barrier to salmon, sea trout, eel and lamprey passage from the sea to the Aire and Calder river systems,” according to the company’s website. Barn Energy collaborated with the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust to build this scheme, which features a stainless steel screen 40 m by 3 m to keep fish and equipment safe.

“Knottingley is our third significant and long-term investment in Yorkshire’s energy infrastructure and is providing secure and sustainable energy to a local flour mill and the local grid,” said Mark Simon, chief executive of Barn Energy. “The economic and environmental benefits that river hydro offers, and the goodwill shown towards this type of clean energy generation, are clear to see.”

However, at the same time, Simon said Knottingley will very likely be the last scheme the company builds in Yorkshire and possibly in the UK. Simon cited “changes in government policy,” saying “Infrastructure projects of this kind, which have abundant environmental benefits, need the public sector involved to help access low-cost, long-term finance.”

HydroWorld reported in October 2015 that Barn Energy completed development of a 260-kW hydro project called Thrybergh, near Kilnhurst on the River Don.

The company’s website says its operating hydro projects are 100-kW De Lank, 500-kW Kirkthorpe and 40-kW Boxted. Other hydro projects under development are 900-kW Naburn and 1.8-MW Cromwell.

Barn Energy develops low-head hydro projects in England and Wales.

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