Monday, 31 March 2008

Coffer dams - (31/03)

To allow the construction works to take place a temporary dam has to be put in the river adjacent to the site - this is known as a coffer dam ( and is common in construction to exclude water from an area that is normally submerged. In the pictures below we have two views of our coffer dam which also has a temporary syphon in place (old technology is always better) to remove any water that does find its way through - the black pipe in the close-up picture is the United Utilties storm pipe that had to be re-sited.

View of the coffer dam from Church Road bridge.

Yvette (from WRE Ltd) trundles off carefully to move more soil

Preparation work - (31/03)

Ground height being reduced in line of the original United Utilies storm overflow pipe

Filling the dumper - the spoil is then either taken off site or some will be re-used to cover the re-routed United Utilities storm pipe

Wall removal, for ease of access later with the turbine - all stone is being stored for later re-use within the project.

Spoil storage area on the 'safe' side of the weak bridge - it is then collected from here for disposal

A view of the emerging (presumed) leat into the wheel pit area prior to the move of the United Utilities storm pipe.

High Peak Radio - (30/03)

Those of you fortunate enough to live in listening distance of High Peak Radio can look forward to listening to an interview later in the week with Richard Body (one of the THNM Ltd Directors) and Chris Elliot Managing Director of WRE Ltd who are installing the Hydro system - they will be updating listeners on progress so far..

To tune in to High Peak radion turn that dial to FM on 106.4 & 103.3 or if you live further afield you can also pick up the station on t'internet at

Happy listening !

Saturday, 29 March 2008

In the beginning - (28/03)

At the beginning of March in came the portaloo and site buildings which will hopefully make life 'slightly' more bearable for the team over the coming months working in what is currently a cold and wet New Mills.

The site was then secured and marked out before the heavy machinery was rolled in to start the initial excavations to locate the United Utilities storm waste pipe that needs to be resited prior to the screw being installed.

Below we see the first sod being cut, followed by many more...

and soon afterwards the walls of the old Torr Mill start to appear much to the delight of the archealogist

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Work has started - (27/03)

As with any project theres always lots of paper work to be completed before anything can start - well the paper work is now done - We have a lease from New Mills Town Council, planning permission has been granted and an abstraction license from the Environment Agency to use the water.

At the beginning of March the site was fenced off and site office, secure storage, CCTV and portaloo installed for the team who will be based there over the next few months. a temporaray footpath has been laid to allow access around the site when excavation equipment is blocking the usual path.

Initial shallow excavations to expose the old stone walls of the mill on site and removal of excess soil are now well under way as is the excavation of the site where the screw will be housed - we have also had our own version of the 'Time team' on site - the archeologist has been very interested, drawing everything, but hasnt found anything that will slow the build, so no burried treasure (yet) - the site was originally the home to Torr Mill which burned down in 1912.

Share holders letters - (27/03)

If you've been wondering if your application for shares has been succesful then you should have received a letter in the last week or if you are a joint shareholder you will receive it in the next few days.
To keep costs down and therefore maximise profit avaialble to the community the mailings are done manually - so thats a lot of letters to fold, envelopes to lick, labels to stick and in some cases hand deliveries to be made.

Funding the scheme - (27/03)

Artists impression of the finshed project with the screw visible in the middle of the picture

How much !?

The total cost of the project in the prospectus was £226,000.

We have received £60,000 more in grant help than we hoped for when writing the prospectus.

The prospectus had the £126,000 of shares needed. We got over £97,000 in share applications from over 200 applications.

Over 50% of these applications are from New Mills, which shows just how much the town has got behind the project.

Who we are and what we will do - (27/03)

The weir - where water will be turned into electricity !

It seems that everyone these days has a blog - so with New Mills being on the cutting edge of everything that is good why should we be any different !

Who we are :

Torrs Hydro New Mills Limited is an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) for the Benefit of the Community. Torrs Hydro was registered specifically so that the community could own the hydro electric scheme to be built in "The Torrs" in New Mills. The Directors are all local people who have a keen interest in the project.

The Company has a set of rules that set out how we shall operate and what our objectives are. There are two types of IPS. One is for the benefit of the shareholders the other, which we are, is for the benefit of the community.

This type of 'society' run 'for the benefit of the community' must principally show that :

  • the business is run primarily for the benefit of people who are not members of the society and must be in the interests of the community at large.
  • the rules of the society must not allow distribution of profits or assets to the members: profits should be ploughed back into the business
  • the organisation has special reasons for registering under this part of the industrial and provident society legislation rather than as a company,
  • on dissolution the assets of the society must pass to some other body with similar objects, not to the members.

Our rules reflect these requirements, our stated aims are to :

  • Help regenerate the community and environmental sustainability of the New Mills area.
  • Provide an opportunity for public-spirited people and organisations to contribute financially to the community, with the expectation of a social dividend, rather than personal financial reward.

Examples of the ways in which we may carry out our aims include

  • Developing and operating a grant system out of the revenues from the Scheme;
  • Developing an educational programme on environmental issues
  • Developing new or existing services to the local community that contribute to the local economy.

Well thats a summary of our aims and teh company set-up, more in-depth detail on this can be found on the Company web-site (link is on this page to the right)

What are we going to do :

Heres the fun bit, the 'doing' bit, the bit that everyone asks about !

We are going to make electricity - using water !

Technically though we shall install a 70kW Reverse Archimedean Screw with a diameter of 2.4 Metres. Originally (in the black and white days), Archimedean screws were used to carry water uphill, but someone had the idea of reversing one to generate electricity. There is one already ninstalled in Devon, but this one will be the first that is owned by the community.

The whole project is a long term investment, the screw has an expected life of 40 years. Based on official records of river levels over the last 20 years, we estimate that it will generate 70kW 45% of the time. When the river level is low it will just turn off. Approximately 260,000 Kilowatt hours (or units) will be generated annually - thats about enough electricity to power 70 houses.

The actual installation of the 'screw' will be interesting (we will let you know nearer the time when this will be as its one not to be missed), there is no road access to The Torrs that can carry the 10 tonnes of screw so it will have to be lowered (very carefully I might add) from the nearby Union Road bridge down into The Torrs