Renewables First has designed the Saddleworth Community Hydro scheme to meet the following criteria:
- to maintain the compensation flow to the Chew Brook
- to generate continuous electricity from the flow released
- to enable reservoir draw-down during emergency procedures.
Renewables First has also ensured that the Saddleworth Community Hydro scheme blends in with its surroundings. In fact, much of the scheme will be located underground and be invisible to the eye.
The scheme will be incorporated into the existing stilling basin, located at the toe of the embankment. The stilling basin is designed to “still” (remove the excess energy) from the “compensation flow” leaving the reservoir, before the water rejoins Chew Brook.
Rather than large concrete blocks dissipating the excess energy, Renewables First has designed a hydro scheme to generate enough electricity to annually power the equivalent of 75 homes!
Modifications to the existing pipe work within the pump house (itself located underground) will enable the compensation flow to be redirected through a penstock pipe. This pipe will be laid underground and will feed water to the 55 kW Crossflow turbine and generator. These too will be located below ground level within a small turbine house next to the stilling basin. A culvert will be constructed to connect the sump below the turbine to the stilling basin. This will allow spent water (its energy removed) to return to the watercourse, thus closing the loop.
Renewables First has designed the system to maintain a separation between reservoir asset and hydro facility. The scheme will manage the release of compensation flow, yet still enable United Utilities to isolate the hydro system from within the asset at any time.
Above ground, the turbine house has been designed to visually match existing reservoir infrastructure. The building will be dressed with local stone, coarse faced, with a parapet design and a low maintenance sedum roof.
An external ground slab will be laid for loading purposes, as well as an internal loading bay at the same level. Lifting beams will be incorporated into the roof of the turbine house, in order to hoist the turbine and generator into position.
In the event of severe flooding, overflow waters will pass through the emergency spillway of the reservoir above, thus presenting no threat to the hydro system.
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