Good for the planet

CO2 emissions

The estimated annual energy that would be generated from the final design of Hexham River Hydro is 602MWh per annum.
1MWh = 1 megawatt hour, which means one million watts of power delivered in one hour.

The average UK household uses 3,300 kWh per annum.
Source Ofgem report: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/FactSheets/Documents1/domestic%20energy%20consump%20fig%20FS.pdf
1KWh = one kilowatt hour, which means one thousand watts of power delivered in one hour. 1,000kWh = 1MWh

Hexham River Hydro would therefore supply the equivalent of 182 households’ electricity requirements every year for each year of its operation. Its design life has been 120+ years.

Using the Carbon Trust’s conversion factor for grid electricity Hexham River Hydro would save 315,821 kgCO2e (kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions) i.e. the equivalent of 316 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year of its operation.
[Carbon Trust conversion factor: http://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/carbon-footprinting-and-reporting/conversion-factors ]

The design consultants have advised that the CO2 emitted in order to construct schemes of this nature is normally ‘paid back’ within the first two years of operation i.e. from year three onward the scheme would be carbon negative.

For the vast majority of its working life Hexham River Hydro would produce carbon-free electricity for the national grid.

Why this is important locally

Grassroot support for Hexham River Hydro has long been a driver to help Hexham become a more environmentally sustainable market town.

The enthusiasm of local people to deliver locally produced and owned renewable energy is visible throughout the volunteers, supporters and lead organizations – Transition Tynedale and Hexham Community Partnership.

The commitment, energy and belief from the people in the town shows that Hexham is a forward thinking place whose residents are willing to adopt a pioneering attitude towards becoming environmentally sustainable.

Climate change is the single greatest threat to the planet and we strongly support measures to reduce carbon emissions.

It was hoped that Hexham River Hydro would make an important contribution in reducing carbon emission, tackling fuel poverty, supporting rural development and reducing the need for centralized fossil fuel generation. There remains a firm commitment to minimizing any impacts on the natural and built heritage and where possible enhancing these resources.

Energy affects everyone’s lives, and pockets, and our thinking mirrors that of many other communities in the UK. There are alternative ways of doing things in order to take control over energy use and costs.

There is potential for everyone to contribute to and hopefully meet, if not exceed the UK’s 2020 renewable energy target.

Why this is important globally

It is now accepted that the empirical evidence of increasing global temperatures demonstrates the cumulative effect of anthropogenic green house gas emissions (GHG). There is currently a global challenge to reduce GHG to mitigate against the effects of climate change and limit temperature rise to 20C, in line with the Copenhagen accord goal. In 2008 the UK Climate Change Act set legally binding targets for the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, set against a 1990 baseline. To assist these reduction targets the Government has pledged to generate 15% of all energy consumed, by 2020, from renewable sources. Currently 6.7% of total UK Electricity demand is met by Renewable sources.

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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