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© 2015 by Barn Energy

BARN ENERGY

 

Our goal is to build, own and operate high quality and economically viable low head hydroelectric power stations, using and improving existing river structures so as to encourage fish migration and accommodate all other river users.


Low head hydropower is generated from the run of the river.  We believe that is the best form of electricity generation since it has the most permanent infrastructure, generates for the greatest proportion of the time and, uniquely among renewables, more than 80% of all spending goes into the local UK economy.

 

WHY RENEWABLES, WHY HYDROPOWER?


The UK has to decommission 80% of our coal-fired, and 60% of our existing nuclear electricity generating capacity in the next 10 years.  Low-head hydropower:

 

  • represents the longest-term, lowest-cost source of renewable electricity;

  • provides baseload electricity supply when it is most needed;

  • delivers steady and reliable non-intermittent supply, requiring no back up generation capacity;

  • is efficient to generate;

  • is close to consumers and efficient to distribute; 

  • delivers unique environmental benefits to the rivers 

 

and underpins the security of supply of electricity in the UK.

 

LOW HEAD HYDROPOWER

 

KEY FACTS

 

Space: a 260kW site (as at  our Thrybergh site) takes up ¼ acre and produces 1m ‘units’/kWh every year.  This is the same annual output as a 1.1MW solar farm, which will take up around 6 acres.   25x more space.

 

Cost: Thrybergh will cost around £2.1m whereas the solar PV described above (or a 400kW wind turbine, which will produce the same) will cost £1.2m installed. 

 

Lifetime Energy Yield:  the lifetime of the £2.1m spent on hydropower at Thrybergh is permanent for 80% of it (the civil structures) and 50yrs+ for the rest (the generating equipment).  Say 100yrs conservatively.  In that time it will generate 100m kWh (100GWh).

The lifetime of the £1.2m spent on onshore wind or solar PV is 20-30 years.  In that time they will generate 25m-30m kWh (25-30GWh), after which the system will essentially be entirely replaced (by new imported technology).

 

Infrastructure Investment: of every £1 spent on low head hydropower, at least 80p is spent in the British economy, with a large percentage of contracts placed with local businesses close to the project sites.  The main spend is on permanent civil engineering works which will be efficient, green hydro electric generation assets for ever.  This is not true of any other renewable technology.  Added to which, it is being spent on the Northern and Midland waterways, the original backbone of the English industrial revolution.

 

Return on UK investment:  Thus £1 spent on solar will generate 25kWh in its lifetime, similarly for onshore wind.  £1 spent on low-head hydro will generate at least 50kWh and, after 100 years, the infrastructure built is available to generate more.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

 

  1. Our power stations use turbines to extract power from rivers wherever there is drop/head (typically at weirs) to generate electricity 24/7, 10-11 months of the year.

  2. This stable “base load” electricity represents the lowest cost over the long term (we expect to be still generating in 2115);

  3. Low head hydropower at weirs is the only hydropower available for the majority of English communities, specifically in industrial areas where it is embedded in the grid, resulting in almost no inefficiencies through transmission losses,

 

…and finally, unlike other renewables, over 80% of the substantial cost of our building low head hydropower stations gets spent in the local UK economy.  And, once spent and properly maintained, never needs to be replaced.  This is worthwhile. 

 

UK ENERGY POLICY

The Feed in Tariff has been used to support the commissioning of the first new low head hydropower stations in England and Wales since 2012.  Since 2014, the Feed in Tariff has been rapidly reduced and low head hydropower, with its high construction costs, is at risk.  To support low head hydropower, policy makers need to consider that low head hydropower:

 

  • Is a mature, not emerging, technology;

  • Delivers electricity that is efficient to generate, and efficient to distribute;

  • Spends over 80% of the costs of its construction in the local UK economy, which develops skills and propagates in the local area;

  • Once built, provides the longest term and lowest cost renewable electricity;

  • Could provide secure, renewable energy and long-term investment to cities in the North of England and the Midlands on the very rivers on which the UK industrial heritage was born;

  • Builds core UK energy infrastructure, providing steady and reliable non-intermittent supply, requiring no back up generating capacity;

  • Delivers baseload power, 24/7, 10-11 months/year, underpinning security of UK energy supply;

  • Is green, sustainable and delivers unique environmental benefits such as repairing damage caused by centuries of industrialisation, and

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, in our experience, our neighbours, consumers and communities love it.