Mill Field Micro Hydro Project Feasibility Study
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
The site is close to several places that could use the electricity, including potentially EV Charging points for community use.
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.
Update March 2023
Following receipt of the first stage of the feasibility study, it has been agreed not to proceed further with this project. Although the study demonstrated that a turbine on the sluice would be feasible, the Environment Agency has stated that it would not be desirable as the majority of the water should run down the natural river channel and not the mill race as would be necessary if the turbine was installed.
We thank RCEF for their funding and the opportunity to investigate this project.
However ……. the Environment Agency is giving us an opportunity to develop a another exciting project……..
New Exciting Project:
Rock Ramp Fish Pass
Currently under discussion with the Environment Agency is funding to conduct a feasibility study to install a rock ramp fish pass on the river. This would negate the need the repair the weir – a very expensive job – as a rock ramp can also actually serve to support old weirs that are in danger of collapsing and causing havoc with flooding or damage to infrastructure. It’s like a natural river bed so all species of fish have a chance of being able to use it.
More details will be posted as they become available.
The Formal Bit ……………………….
Aim of the Energy Team
To enable Charlbury to transition to local renewable energy sources.
- To promote community-owned electricity generation
- To promote household energy generation (e.g. solar panels, heat pumps)