Water power has long been a source of energy, and some of the earliest plants for large-scale generation of electricity used water to turn the turbines. In Warwickshire there are a number of rivers where water has been used in the past to power mills – indeed there are still two working water mills operating in the county. So Community Energy Warwickshire has sought to explore options for generating electricity using water through micro-hydro schemes.
Micro-hydro on the River Leam?
Over the past ten years, there have been several studies of the potential to locate micro-hydro schemes on the River Leam at the weir in Jephson Gardens and the weir at Princes Drive, both in Leamington Spa. Community Energy Warwickshire sought to build on these initial studies to explore the potential for a viable micro-hydro project at one or both of these locations.
Although our work confirmed the potential of the sites, discussions with the Environment Agency found that its use of the Princes Drive weir as an important flood management gauging station meant that it would refuse consent for a micro-hydro scheme at these sites.