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Hexham River Hydro is a joint initiative of Hexham Community Partnership and Transition Tynedale, with the full support of Hexham Town Council.

As at June 2013 the Hexham River Hydro team has decided that it will not proceed with Hexham River Hydro as a standalone community project. See Timeline for a brief history of the project.

This decision has been reached in the light of the detailed design study. The level of financial risk associated with the project is judged to be too great compared with the latest forecast level of financial return. This is the judgement of a community group of volunteers with no underlying financial backing. The decision has been made ignoring non-financial benefits (e.g. a significant new facility for recreational users of the river and riverbank) and also ignoring financial benefits that may accrue to others as a result of the scheme (e.g. fisheries income from improved fish catches and additional visitor income for the town/region). See Financials for more information on the financial risks and projected return and how these have changed over the course of the project.

This is not necessarily the end for hydro at this location, for three reasons:

(1)     The decision to stop work as a standalone community project represents the group’s collective attitude toward the level of financial risk associated with continuing the project. The group is a community group of volunteers from Transition Tynedale and Hexham Community Partnership. Others may have a different attitude towards the financial risk and the level of financial return achievable from a hydro project at this site.

(2)     Significant engineering works at this site will need to be undertaken in the near future, not least to improve fish passage on the River Tyne at Hexham Bridge and potentially improve the structural support for the Bridge itself. Including hydro power generation as part of the works is likely to be the only way to derive any significant income to offset the considerable capital expenditure that will be required for any engineering project at this site and to ensure that the project is sustainable (e.g. that funding and staffing are in place for the future fish pass maintenance that will be required).

{Some of the information which the Hexham River Hydro core team has had privileged sight of during the course of work on the hydro project has left members of the team with significant concerns about the stability of the structural support for Hexham Bridge. To the extent that we are in a position to do so, we have flagged this to the relevant parties.}

(3)     If, as a result of this announcement, individuals (or companies/organisations) come forward to offer low- or no-cost financial investment in Hexham River Hydro as a community project, this could have a materially positive impact on the balance of financial risk/reward.

See how to contact us if you would like to get in touch

The remainder of this site sets out in much more detail all the key aspects of the design, including:

-          How the scheme would work and what it would look like

-          The benefits and constraints

-          The reasons why fish populations would not be harmed by the scheme – and, indeed, would probably benefit from the scheme

-          Key lessons learned from nearly three years of work

Please take the time to read about the scheme and encourage others to do the same. It is hoped that by providing so much information publicly there will be greater knowledge and understanding of run-of-river hydropower, to improve the general climate (pardon the pun) in which individuals and organisations reach judgements about whether to support or oppose such schemes.

 

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Hexham River Hydro, an energyshare project made possible by British Gas and supported by Carbon Leapfrog, Cooperative Enterprise Hub, Vattenfall and The Naturesave Trust