Energy Team

Aim

To enable Charlbury to transition to local renewable energy sources.

Objectives

  1. To promote community-owned electricity generation
  2. To promote household energy generation (e.g. solar panels, heat pumps)

Energy Team Terms of Reference

Mill Field Micro Hydro Project Feasibility Study

BACKGROUND

In November 2019 the Town Council declared a climate emergency. In May 2021 the council further decided one of its missions should be to deliver on its commitment to act on the climate and ecological emergencies by actively preparing Charlbury and its environment for a zero-carbon, biodiverse and sustainable future.

Part of that mission involves seeking to produce clean, local and sustainable energy for the people of Charlbury. To that end, a site on council owned land has been identified as a potential Micro-Hydro suitable site. This project will seek to utilise the existing Mill Race and Sluice Gate that diverts water from the River Evenlode to produce electricity using an Ultra-Low Head Micro-Hydro Turbine.

The site (Fig 1) is the existing Sluice Gate and Mill Race for the Charlbury Mill that once occupied this site. It is situated at the end of Mill Lane in Charlbury, Oxfordshire at Grid Reference 51.874839, -1.486988

sluice gate

The site is close to several places that could use the electricity, including potentially EV Charging points for community use.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES

The primary objectives of the overall project are to:

  • Provide cost effective low carbon energy to satisfy a local electrical demand
  • Feed surplus electricity to the National Grid if required

The council has recently been given a grant by the Rural Community Energy Fund to cover the costs of a detailed feasibility study into this proposed project. The scope and work required by this feasibility study are detailed below. If the early parts of the feasibility study show potential, we will then engage with the residents of Charlbury to measure the level of support for this project before proceeding.

WORK SCOPE

The work packages for the feasibility study are:

Work Package 1: to assess energy production potential for the site and confirm proposed hardware choice(s)

Work Package 2: to engage with DNO and Environment Agency to establish the potential for generation and export

Work Package 3: to assess potential local energy offtake options including costs and risks for private wire routing and connection

Work Package 4: to present these with financial projections to enable decisions to be made

Work Package 5: to generate a firm specification for the proposed system