Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Wake me up when September ends.. (30/09)

As we come to the end of our first month since switching the screw on its perhaps a time to reflect a little on the progress we are making.

Whilst the month hasn't been as productive from a business sense as future months will be ( for example lack of rain fall until yesterday, several days non productivity due to essential maintenance on the screw, two days lost clearing debris after our mini typhoon and teh fact we didn't switch on until 4 September), it has been a remarkable month for New Mills and Torrs Hydro as a whole.

The amazing sense of ownership of the screw that I get from everyone I speak to in and around the Torrs Riverside Park is fantastic.

Sorting out daily maintenance checks on the screw, volunteers helping clear debris out of the river following our first major storm, building relationships with the Environment agency, discussing with the HSE and local planning how best we mitigate any safety risks that exist, resurfacing the road around the bridge, making progress on remote monitoring of the screw are just a few of the many things we have done or are in the process of completing.

And even better still we are producing renewable energy for the Coop in New Mills 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Well done New Mills and many thanks to all who have made this happen !

The rains cometh - (30/09)

Well it was a long time in coming (over three weeks) but now we have rain at last.

Over the past three weeks we have seen the amount of water coming down the Rivers Sett and Goyt gradually reduce due to the lack of rainfall.

As the amount of available water reduces the automatic control system in the engine house manages the flow to ensure we have a constant minimum of 31mm going over the weir at all times - the rest can be used by the screw to create renewable energy.

The amount of electricity produced also falls when the river levels drop, but as the rains started again earlier today and the River Sett began to rise again so did the amount of electricity being produced and had risen this evening by 4KW compared with this afternoons figures (that's about four houses worth)
Looking at this weeks forecast I think we may get close to full power by Thursday afternoon !

Sunday, 28 September 2008

River Goyt - (29/09)

Many of you passing by Torrs Hydro know the rivers Sett and Goyt but its interesting to know a little more about about where the water that goes over the Torr weir comes from, we'll start today with the River Goyt (that's the bigger of the two or the one on the right if you are facing the weir from the bridge)

The upper Goyt

The Goyt begins its journey high on the vast bleak heather clad moorland, two miles west of the town Buxton then starts to thread its journey northwards from its catchment area close to the A537 Buxton to Macclesfield road, and within sight of the popular Cat and Fiddle Inn.

At this point it stands at over 460 metres above sea level, and as the Goyt makes its way slowly towards the north, it begins its gradual descent as the natural force of water slowly cuts a channel through the thick beds of Millstone Grit and Shale.

Walking from the Macclesfield Old Road, the long disused coaching route out of Buxton, and following the course of the river Goyt on our right for a little over one mile, we soon reach the picturesque 300-year-old packhorse bridge. This formerly stood on the old salt way that ran east from Cheshire, much lower down the valley where the waters of the reservoir now stand

Near to the long disused Goyt's Clough Quarry, a little further on and to your right, there is a wonderful opportunity to take a walk down into the gorge and see river Goyt up close. Here you may sit on one of several benches and listen to the water tumbling over the huge jumble of rocks, or you might even hear either grouse, pheasant or curlew calling across the moorland.

Another mile further along the narrow road, you reach the Goyt reservoir. The landscape all around you is both wild and truly breath-taking, something to enjoy regardless of the prevailing weather conditions. Just prior to crossing a curved wrought iron bridge, and set well back through the trees to your left, there are the remains of Erwood Hall, situated among extensive stands of planted Rhododendron shrubs. This estate, until 1936, was formerly home to the Grimshawe family.

Looking north out over the dam wall, it offers the walker grand views over the much lower Fernilee reservoir, where throughout its length you can see mixed woodland on either side. The long disused trackbed of the historical Cromford & High Peak Railway follows the right-hand bank for the reservoir's entire length, whereafter it makes its way as far as the town of Whaley Bridge and the canal warfe, some two miles distant.

The Goyt then passes through Taxal and Horwich End where it is joined by the Todd Brook. Thereafter it passes through Whaley Bridge before eventually winding its way into New Mills and over the Torr weir.

After New Mills teh Goyt is then joined by the River Etherow, the Goyt joins the River Tame at Stockport, forming the River Mersey before heading into the Irish Sea.

Friday, 26 September 2008

New Mills Lantern Parade - (26/09)

An amazing display at the New Mills Lantern Parade

What a great weekend its set to be with plenty of sunshine (or so the forecast tells us) and also the culmination of the New Mills Festival with the famous Lantern Parade.

Starting at the park below New Mills Central railway station the procession moves off at at 7:30pm, slowly winding its way through the Torrs, over the Millennium Walkway, towards Torrs Hydro before turning right over Torr Mill bridge and up towards the Rock Tavern pub before finishing on the Newtown recreation ground with a fantastic firework display and followed by the one and only Tony Audenshaw of White Van Man fame playing live out of the back of a Crabtree wagon - what more could you want on a Saturday evening.

Several thousand people are expected on the Lantern Parade and to watch White Van Man - so arrive early and enjoy a great New Mills evening.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

What a busy 24 hours - (September 25)

Its all happening at the moment - such a busy 24 hours.

The old road up to Rock Tavern pub has had some really good improvements made to it in time for this weekends Lantern Procession (more on that later), last nights presentation and question and answer session was brilliant and such a great turn out and some brilliant questions - my favourite one being 'Are you all local or foreigners ?' - We were all proud to state that we are all local !

Then this morning a visit en masse from The Environment Agency to discuss the scheme now it is live and for us all to understand who does what in the Environment Agency - I for one was amazed at the depth of their organisation with over 10,000 employees - so today in the group of 10 or more we had Geomorphologists to talk about how river beds evolve and what we should expect in the Rivers Sett and Goyt, several fisheries experts (we even found out we have Otters as close by as Whaley Bridge and Mink even closer by), weir experts, fish pass experts, people who deal with abstraction of water - you name them and they were here so many thanks to them all for showing such an interest and we look forward to working with you all in the future.

... that's not forgetting the large number of visitors (ramblers, schools etc) who are continually passing through on a daily basis - its great to meet you all !

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Better than Corrie... ! - (September 24)

Wednesday 24 7:30pm - Revival Church, High Street, New Mills

The Country's first Community Owned and Community Funded Hydro Electric Scheme
Revival Church, High Street, 7.30 - 9pm

Come and hear about the pioneering scheme in New Mills Torrs: a presentation
and informal discussion.

FREE but small charge for refreshments.

As part of the New Mills Festival the Directors of Torrs Hydro New Mills will be giving an informal presentation this evening at the Revival Church - everyone is welcome, refreshments will be served with proceeds being donated to charity.

Road works - (24 September)

Please take care today if walking from Torrs Hydro site across the bridge and up the hill towards the Rock Tavern pub on Wirksmoor Road as resurfacing work will be taking place

Torrs Hydro are funding this remedial work on this stretch of road prior to this weekends New Mills Lantern procession.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Maintenance - (23 September)

A couple of days longer than we had expected but we are now up and running again and sending power to the Co-op store in New Mills.

Ritz Atro (the screw manufacturers) kindly sent us out one of their engineers to work alongside Dave Mann and his team to re-align the bearing flange and whilst here he gave everything the once over and we have a clean bill of health.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Clear water - (20/09)

What a great turn out this morning in the brilliant New Mills sunshine - the team of Ruth, Maggie, Sean, Richard, Pete, Ken and Rob soon made light work of removing the rest of the 'sand and rubble' bank that appeared during the storms two weeks ago - hopefully that's the last we will see of it !

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Volunteers needed - (19 September)

Over the last week we have been successfully clearing the river of the debris washed down in the recent 'end of summer' storms.

This coming Saturday morning we would like to pull together a small group of volunteers to continue doing this.

All you need is a pair of good wellies or waders and the ability to pick up stones and throw them as directed - if anyone is available from 10am for a maximum of two hours please meet up outside the screw for 10am.

The plan will be to split into two teams (if we have enough volunteers) one team concentrating on removing the rest of the sand bank washed down the river Sett by the storm and the other team to concentrate moving the stones on the river bed just in front of the weir.

If you are available and would like to help (and possibly get wet in doing so!) then please email me on sean@torrshydro.co.uk

Update : We have 4 volunteers plus two Directors so far.

Maintenance - (18 September)

The work on the lower end of the screw is now scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon with an engineer being flown in from the manufacturers in Germany.

Between now and Monday the tail race of the screw will be made water tight to enable the water to be pumped out to enable easier access. The engineer will arrive Monday lunchtime, the bottom end of the screw will be raised and the flange will be re tightened - it is expected that the screw will be operational again by Monday evening.

Whilst any downtime is unfortunate it has allowed us to test and review our maintenance procedures which has been very successful.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Maintenance - (16 September)

A number of you will have noticed that the screw isn't currently turning today (Tuesday 16), this was to enable maintenance to take place.

As part of this maintenance the lower bearing flange needs to be re tightened thus allowing smoother running of the screw. (I didn't know what a lower bearing flange was before today either).

This work will be planned in over the next couple of days and will involve lifting the lower end of the screw to gain access to the flange.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The screw in action - (15/09)

Many of you not local to New Mills have been asking to see footage of the screw in action - well here it is courtesy of our very own local Steven Spielberg Ken !

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Messing about in the river... (11/09)

The original Torr Mill on the site of Torrs Hydro

Those passing through the Torrs in the last couple of days may be wondering what has been happening in the river beside the Torrs Hydro.

Following last weekends storms and heavy rains throughout the country large deposits of 'rubbish' ended up in the area around the weir - bikes, microwave oven, shopping trolley, logs, even an old mill stone which has been donated to the New Mills Heritage Centre.

Over the past two days Sean and Till (two of the Directors of Torrs Hydro New Mills) have been up to chests in water removing the debris which improves the flow of water to the screw and in doing so increased the output of electricity to the New Mills Co-op.

Its not expected that this activity will become a regular occurrence, but next time it does we will be asking local volunteers for assistance to speed the process up - so be prepared to get your feet wet !

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Ten thousand hits ! - (10/09)

What started out a few months back as just one or two hits a week on the Torrs Hydro blog very soon snow balled and later this week we go through the magic 10,000 hits mark - which is amazing really.

When you then take a look at the stats and see just who is looking at our blog - we have visitors over the past seven days from :

UK, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Korea, Finland, Holland, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Thailand, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Poland, Russia and not forgetting New Mills !

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The rain came down... (09/09)

Well summer came and went and just as it was leaving left a deluge of rain across the country with 68 flood warnings in place on Sunday.

New Mills was no exception with torrential rain throughout Friday evening and Saturday causing the rivers Sett and Goyt to rise alarmingly.

The Hydro system worked as planned and the 'head' sensors detected too much water and automatically shut the system down as planned.

After several hours of removing washed down debris from the river - bike, shopping trolley, microwave oven to name but a few - the system was started up again only to be hit by another deluge later in the weekend.

All systems were go again by Sunday afternoon with excellent maintenance support to THNM by WRE and on site by in New Mills by Mann Power Consulting to assist in performing system checks and advise on the clearance of the intake.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Torrs Hydro New Mills - (06/09)

Just less than 6 months ago we started to create Torrs Hydro New Mills, as of Thursday afternoon last week we pressed the 'on' button and that means we are now creating renewable energy for New Mills.

WRE who have worked long and hard over that period finished the commissioning exercise and have now handed the 'keys to the door' over to Torrs Hydro New Mills Ltd.

Daily Operational checks are being undertaken to ensure smooth running of the screw.

So far the screw has produced just over 1 Megawatt hour of power which is the equivalent of over ten thousand light bulbs running for an hour !

Bit of education for any fellow geeks out there :
A Megawatt-hour (MWh) is : 1 megawatt acting over a period of 1 hour. One megawatt-hour is equal to 1,000 kilowatt-hours or 1 million watt-hours. The primary difference between a megawatt and a megawatt-hour is that “megawatt” measures the capacity of an electric generator and “megawatt-hour” measures the actual amount of electricity it produces over a certain period of time.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Invitation from Water Power Enterprises - (02/09)


You are warmly invited to the launch of Settle Hydro's Share Offer on Saturday 6 September, 10am, at Victoria Hall, Settle. Settle Hydro Ltd - a development of Settle Area Regeneration Team, StART, Settle District Chamber of Trade and Settle District Going Green - plans to install a 50kW hydro power plant at Bridge End Weir, in Settle. The plant would be Yorkshire's first community-owned and surplus monies from the sale of hydro electricity would fund local environmental and community projects. The share offer gives individuals, local businesses and social investors the chance to become members of a ground breaking renewable electricity project that will provide clean, green electricity. It's a unique way to demonstrate a commitment to a sustainable environmental project.