Saturday, 26 December 2009

Award winning picture

Hazel Body won 2nd prize in the New Mills photography competition with the attached picture of Richard Body cleaning the inlet.

Archie featured in several pictures in the competition which can be viewed at the New Mills Heritage Centre at the moment.

Also we require photos :

Any high resolution pictures of the flora and fauna in the Torrs (both wanted and unwanted species). We are working with the Environment Agency in designing and installing interpretation boards and would like pictures of the Torrs where possible.

Email pictures to the Secretary before the end of the year.

Water Renaissance Awards 2010

Great news as we come towards the end of a succesful 2009 - Torrs Hydro in conjunction with the Environment Agency are through to the penultimate round of the Water Renaissance Awards 2010.

Watch this space in January to see how we progress after the next round of assesments.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

November goes from strength to strength

Well the rain keeps falling and Archie keeps turning - November is now the highest month in kWh this year and already equals the sum of May, June, July, August and September combined.

All this and still nine days to go in the month - if I was a betting man (and I'm not) I would say that by the end of the month Archie will have beaten all previous production records.

This is primarily down to lots of rain and to the extraordinary amount of work done by volunteers in clearing the intake over the past few weeks.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A great picture of the weir with Torrs Hydro blending beautifully into the landscape.

This week the battle with leaves and dead wood at the intake continues and to date it looks like we are on top.

Since Archie was turned back on overnight on 1 November it has been running continuously and it looks like by the end of November we will have one of our highest production months since the scheme started (it may yet be the highest, but we don't want to tempt fate)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Three months in one

November continues to bring the rains as promised and with the rains come higher river levels and ultimately more electricity.

We have already produced more electricity in the first eleven days of November than we did in the whole of August, September and October combined.

Long may it continue !

Monday, 9 November 2009

What a difference a week makes !

Well seven days on since we have been able to start running overnight again and all is going well.

Archie has been running 24x7 for the last week running consistently at 40+kWh with a high of 53kWh.

The daily trips into the river continue (sometimes twice daily) and you will notice some works going on down at the screw over the coming weeks to strengthen the sluice gate as the original design is not strong enough.

Good new too from the work Torrs Hydro have been doing with the Environment Agency - we are now working with some local company's to design and install some information boards down at the Hydro to give more details to our thousands of visitors as part of this work there will be plating along the riverside park (working closely with Steve Lewis who is New Mills Town Councils parks and gardens Manager) - the planting will be of typical riverside species so please don't expect formal rose gardens or rows of geraniums !

This work is at the early stages and further updates will be posted on this blog

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Team work

Some great team work over the past week - with the heavy rains came lots of river debris (especially leaves) which build up in a matter of hours to reduce the amount of water that flows through the screw which in turn reduces the amount of electricity we produce.

'Archie' has already producing more electricity in November than it did in the whole of September and October and has several times gone through that 50 kWh barrier - will November end up being a record month - lets wait and see !

Monday, 2 November 2009

Full steam ahead

Not that Archie produces any steam, but after the driest October I can remember (well certainly dryer than last October) we have the first of the winters rain and Archie producing over 40kWh again.

Our main problem at this time of year (and this year we are ready and prepared) is the amazing amount of dead wood, leaves and other vegetation (and pallets) that come down the Sett and Goyt and get trapped by the intake.

On a daily basis until the end of the month volunteers will be getting kitted outed in the ever so fashionable waders (see pic to the left !) and removing debris from the intake.

It is surprising the increase in power you will get from clearing the intake - this morning at 8:00am sharp we cleared the intake and soon the output was up from 25kwH to over 45kWh - well worth the effort !

The other positive news to report is after working closely with High Peak Borough Council and after input from many 'experts' we have had the restrictions lifted on running Archie overnight - the control systems are now configured to automatically shutdown at the power output level that has in the past produced some noise.

We will continue to monitor the improvements we have made and keep you updated on this blog.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

All points of the compass

With visitors to Torrs Hydro today from Portugal, Hungary and Hong Kong - not forgetting Marple and Glossop - there was an International feel about the site.

Big job for the day was to spruce up the carving of the salmon that overlooks Torrs Hydro.

Following a good brush down a liberal coating of wood oil will see our shoal of wooden salmon through the winter.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Lantern Procession - Saturday 26 September 7:30pm

One of the highlights of the New Mills social calendar is the 'world famous' lantern procession.

Starting at Mousley Bottom at 7:30pm (head down past Central Station).

Come on a magical procession in the Torrs, walk over the famous Millennium Walkway flanked by impressive fire sculptured and see hundreds of handmade lanterns lighting up the evening.

Bring your own lantern if you have one or just join in the procession.

The procession ends at Newtown Recreation Ground with live music and a fantastic fireworks display at 8:40pm.

To avoid congestion please do not enter the Torrs other than via Central Station and keep going in the one direction.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sir Martin Doughty

Sir Martin Doughty, the father of modern conservation and founding Chair of Natural England, died of cancer on 4th March 2009, aged 59.

To celebrate Martin’s legacy, Natural England, The National Trust, Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park Authority will be organising a commemorative event in the Peak District on Sunday 11th October 2009.

The 11 October would have been Martin`s 60th birthday and we are planning an informal family day out with walks for all abilities and a fell run on and around Kinder Scout. Fittingly, this was the scene of the 1932 Mass Trespass and the catalyst for the creation of our National Parks.
Details of the day are listed below.

If you would like to join please contact us on letting us know how many people will be attending and which walk you would like to join.
Programme for the day
9.30 – 10.00 Congregate at New Mills Town Hall
10.00 - 10.15 Welcome and introduction to the day's events
10.15 – 10.30 Unveiling of a commemorative sundial by, Nick Hodgson Chief Executive Derbyshire County Council
10.30 Walks and run commence
14.30 Ceremony at Kinder Downfall for those walking routes 4 and 5.
16.00 – 18.00 Return to Royal Hotel Hayfield, for refreshments and opportunity to sample the specially named Martin`s White Hare Bitter.
For those returning to New Mills there will also be an opportunity to sample another specially named beer `Martin`s Favourite New Mills Bitter` at the Beehive, Albion Rd, New Mills.
We would like to take to take the opportunity to say a special thanks to both Dave Botham, owner of the Beehive and the Ash family, owners of the Royal Hotel, for providing these specially named beers.

Buses will be running from Hayfield bus station to New Mills Town Hall and the train stations throughout the day.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Torrs Hydro New Mills on the telly

A fun afternoon behind the cameras being interviewed on TV by Jethro Pope (DM Digitals Weekly 'Spotlight Manchester' program which goes out live).

Richard and Sean acquited themselves really well, not only on the virtues of Torrs Hydro and renewable energy but also on what a great place New Mills is !

Friday, 18 September 2009

On the box

This afternoon - Friday 18 September - there will a TV program on Sky channel 802 about Torrs Hydro New Mills - starting about 2:00pm

Filming was done earler in the week and this afternoons programme goes out live.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Happy Birthday to us !

Twelve months to the day Torrs Hydro was commissioned and switched on for the first time - what a year its been, producing renewable energy for the first time, learning how to manage 'Archie', working with so many great people in New Mills who volunteer to help keeping the Co-op powered.

In that first twelve months we have produced over 163,000kWh of renewable energy which is amazing - that would have been the equivalent of burning nearly 70 tonnes of coal which would produce about 350 tonnes of CO2 !
As you can see from the weather this week theres no global warming in New Mills !

Friday, 28 August 2009

New Mills Original

Why not combine a visit to 'Archie' this weekend with a visit to 'New Mills Original'

As well as the monthly 'open' day down in the Torrs on Sunday its an ideal opportunity to see what is happening with the latest venture in New Mills.

New Mills Original' is launching over the Bank Holiday weekend and is aimed at helping local people establish themselves as creative professionals and bring art, crafts and other creative works to a wider audience at affordable prices.

Throughout the weekend there will be displays from local artists as well as screenings of short films form local film makers.

Having visited the site (behind Barclays Bank in New Mills) I can honestly say you will not be disappointed !!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Were open come on in...

Torrs Hydro has regular public tours of the UK's first community owned hydropower scheme.

At 1pm and 2:30pm on the last Saturday or Sunday of each month you can visit the scheme free of charge.

Just come along to the Torrs Riverside Park and see how we generate renewable energy.

This Saturday 25th July,

Sunday 30th August and
Saturday 26th September.

Take time to have a walk, visit the Heritage Centre, the Millennium Walkway and have something to eat and drink in the town - and this weekend I can promise you sunshine !

Thursday, 18 June 2009

One World Festival - (17/06)

After what seemed like an age without substantial rain this week has seen a return to normal June New Mills weather with steady rain allowing Archie to start turning again.

Currently we are obliged to shut the screw down overnight following a complaint from the Public about noise levels - we are working very closely with High Peak Borough Council and the screws manufacturers in Germany to remove any noise impact (only noticeable at low water levels) and will keep you updated as to progress.

This weekend is New Mills One World Festival so please come and join in the fun - dozens of stalls (including Torrs Hydro), live music, food, drink - like our own mini Glastonbury !!

Torrs Hydro will be doing guided Torrs (sorry tours) of the Hydro so please come along to our stall in High Lea Park.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Clearing the fish pass - (07/06)

One of the ongoing jobs for Torrs Hydro volunteers - clearing the fish pass at the side of the Archimedes screw - sometimes easy - sometimes not so easy !

Maggie shows how it should be done !

Monday, 25 May 2009

Something fishy down at Torrs Hydro - (26/05)

Well if proof that the fish pass at Torrs Hydro is working was ever needed then take a wander down there early evening around 6:00-7:00pm and stand on Smith Bridge (the wooden one) and look straight down on either side and you will see lots of large brown trout (some as big as 8-10 inches in length).

Look directly down from the bridge and you will see them happily swimming against the flow of the river and frequently jumping from the water to catch flies.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Archie goes Arty - (23/05)

As part of the Derbyshire Open Arts exhibition Torrs Hydro are playing host to a local artist who will be displaying two pieces created from 'found objects' dragged out of the river by the intake to the Hydro.

The driftwood and bike tyre have then been transformed and will be on display at Torrs Hydro over the Bank Holiday weekend.

You can pick up a brochure from the New Mills Heritage Centre or follow signs from the Bus Station to see lots more from New Mills Artists 

Bank holiday forecast - (21/05)

With some good rain earlier in the week Archie is expected to be spinning this Bank Holiday weekend and with 'torrential rain expected late Monday/early Tuesday he should be near to maximum output by the middle of next week.

Below are Ann Harding and Chris l'Anson from Settle who hope to soon be starting the build of their own Archie some time early summer -- we wish them good luck and look forward to providing them with advice and guidance throughout.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Why isn't Archie spinning ? (17/05)

Well those walking through the Torrs this weekend will have noticed that Archie has been very still - lack of rain during the week and Saturday has meant not enough water to start producing electricity.

The forecast for Sunday afternoon and the start of next week is good from Archie's point of view (so don't forget your brolly) so we will try and start up at 6:00pm this evening - water permitting !

Monday, 4 May 2009

A good read - (04/05)

A book by the David MacKay, a physics professor at the University of Cambridge, setting out our climate change / energy needs options based on a clear scientific analysis.

The book has gained rave reviews (The Guardian, The Economist etc) and it can be accessed for free too; I have downloaded a copy and am very impressed.

David JC McKay Sustainable Energy - without the hot air

Friday, 24 April 2009

Turning the screw - (24/04)

After a lengthy dry period it looks like our wait for rain will soon be over and by by late Saturday/overnight Saturday night the rains shall fall and Archie shall resume service again.

A reminder also that Sunday sees our latest open day so if you'd like to see 'behind the scenes' or ask some questions then please join us on Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm

Monday, 20 April 2009

Phew what a scorcher ! - (20/04)

Its not often we get more than a few days without rain in April in the UK (and usually not more than a few hours in New Mills). But once again today brought beautiful sunshine to our wonderful part of Derbyshire and once again no rain.

The downside of the fine weather is that the rivers Sett and Goyt are extremely low and mean that to keep within the boundaries of our abstraction licence agreement with the Environment Agency Archie is having a coupe of days rest until the rains start which looking at the long range weather forecast is likely to be Saturday.

So enjoy the sunshine for the next few days as it wont last !

Friday, 10 April 2009

Open days - (8 April)

Torrs Hydro are now opening up the site regularly once a month on alternating Saturdays and Sundays to show you what happens inside the engine house.

Sunday 26 April is the next scheduled opening where you can take a look behind the scenes with one of the team and find out more about how 'Archie' works, what a fish pass is for and ask all those questions you've always wanted answering - we're not promising we will know the answers to them all but we will try !

Also later in the year on the following dates Sat 30th May, Sun 28th June, Sat 25th July, Sun 30th August and Sat 26th September.

So that's Sunday 26 April at 1:00pm and 2:30pm - put it in your diary.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Invitation to invest - (16/03)

Well maybe not a wartime your country needs you - although the renewable energy New Mills is creating is helping reduce the amount needing to be created by carbon fuels.
Many visitors to New Mills and to Torrs Hydro have asked how do they become more involved with this ground breaking scheme - well there are two ways :

If you wish to become a shareholder in the UK's first community owned renewable energy scheme or increase your current shareholding in Torrs Hydro New Mills so that you take advantage of the 20% tax break that will be active this year for our scheme then please email , Richard will then send you a copy of our 'Invitation to Invest' which details the options currently open to you

Alternatively if you don't wish to be involved by owning part of the scheme and want to get your hands wet (literally at some times of the year) then please send an email to - volunteers will sometimes be required to help 'tidy up' after we have sever deluges of rain (probably 3-4 times a years based on experiences from the last 6 months) or to perform adhoc maintenance work (e.g. replace a roof tile on the engine house for example!) - the pay is poor (zero) but the rewards are plentiful in being part of the UK's first community owned renewable energy scheme

Friday, 13 March 2009

Output display - (13/03)

Radius UK have today re-installed the output display meter on Archie so we can all see 'real time' how much renewable energy is being produced.

This afternoon it was around the 44 kwH mark !

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Waterways provide renewable energy - (11/03)

British Waterways has today announced an agreement with The Small Hydro Company Ltd to generate 210,000 mega watt hours of renewable energy per annum using the public corporation’s 2,200 mile waterway network.
The initiative will:
- invest around c.£120 million of private capital over the next three years; - develop approximately 25 small-scale hydro electricity schemes generating enough power for c.40,000 homes; - create 150 construction jobs; - save an annual 110,000 tonnes of CO2.
Backed by Climate Change Capital’s Ventus Fund, the process of gaining consents for the first five hydro schemes alongside river weirs will begin later this month. The proposals will enhance waterway biodiversity as well as providing improved flood mitigation for local communities.
The partnership with The Small Hydro Company follows British Waterways’ announcement in October 2008, of an agreement with Partnerships for Renewables to bring forward wind turbines on canal-side land over the next five years – with annual capacity to generate 219,000 mega watt hours of renewable energy. Income that British Waterways generates from both initiatives will be reinvested towards maintaining the nation’s historic waterways.
Income re-invested into historic waterways
Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband MP said: "By committing to build small hydro power stations and wind turbines, British Waterways is playing an important role in generating renewable energy from the UK’s natural resources. This will help cut carbon emissions and further secure energy supplies. We want even more homes, communities, businesses and public sector organisations to take action and play their part in tackling climate change. The Renewables Obligation already supports renewable electricity generation and from 2010 we'll be introducing a feed-in tariff which will reward projects like this with guaranteed cash payments."

Hilary Benn, Environment Secretary said: "Britain’s waterways were the arteries of our economy, providing transport and power. This scheme shows how with ingenuity and innovation they can once again deliver real economic, social, and environmental benefits, especially in tackling and adapting to climate change."
"Economic, social and environmental benefits"
The Small Hydro Company will now start a programme of community engagement alongside the process of seeking the necessary environmental and planning consents, with the aim of having the first schemes up and running in 2010 to help meet the government’s 2010 hydro renewable targets.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Landscaping - (21/2)

Almost 12 months ago we started to create what has now become Torrs Hydro New Mills. The transformation has been amazing, from archaeological discovery, to muddy hole, then some amazing engineering with lots of concrete and A frames - followed then by our first electricity in September 2008 and then over recent weeks the landscaping project which is all but completed.

None of us will miss the temporary fences which were a bit of an eyesore, but a necessity whilst the fencing and stonework was completed - we hope everyone will agree the area has now become another focal point in New Mills drawing visitors from far and wide.

Many people passing by and those who have been given tours of the site have asked how you can get involved in the project - later in the week we will remind you how you can purchase the few remaining shares and become part of the UK's first community owned hydro electricity scheme.

Friday, 20 February 2009

System outage - (19/02)

We're in the middle of an unplanned outage at the moment.

Last weekend as part of our daily system checks done by volunteers it was noticed the hydraulic pump was making an 'unusual' noise - further investigation found a problem with the shaft meaning the sluice gate could not automatically be adjusted if the water level changed.

As a precaution we manually closed the sluice gate and have taken the pump back to the manufacturers in Gloucester to be repaired and adjusted to avoid a recurrence - the plan is to have the pump back early next week.
The plan was to shut the screw down for a period this week to allow the safety fencing and grill to be fitted so looking on the positive side if your going to have a problem have one when the system is due to be shut down anyway.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Landscaping update - (13/02)

With the stonework completed, steps now in place to the tail race end of the screw, the Sycamore tree now a shoal of salmon next week sees the safety fencing being installed by New Mills own LSP.

Fencing will run along the top of the intake and then down the slope from the engine house to meet the new stone wall at the bottom and at long last we will be able to get rid of the temporary fencing that's been in situ for the last few months.
... and no it wont look like the picture above !

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Friday, 30 January 2009

Outage - (29/1)

An update on the outage we have had earlier this week which at the same time allowed us to perform some remedial work on the limit switches that control the sluice gate.

In the early hours of Monday morning the generator disconnected from the National Grid, it does this as a precaution when the voltage on the grid doe snot match the voltage we produce.

Unfortunately due to an issue we had with the sluice gate limit switches caused Archie to 'free wheel' which in turn caused a drive belt between the gearbox and generator to deteriorate.

It was all hands to the pumps whilst we replaced the drive belt and resolved the limit switch issues with excellent team work from LSP, Mann Power consulting and our friends at WRE.

We have also had a lot of visitors to the site, Tuesday and Wednesday, mostly arranged by h2OPE as part of their advice and information sessions held in Manchester for other groups thinking of going down the same the same route as Torrs Hydro.

The Co-op Group also visited with energy managers from Co-operatives around the country for whom they purchase power and help with strategies to reduce energy use and carbon footprint.

Archie is now running smoothly again.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Seven Leaping Salmon - (24/1)

For those that missed tonight's Manchester Evening News (full page spread on page 3) here is the web version and extra pictures of the seven leaping salmon.

We will post some pictures of the past few days on the blog shortly.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Torrs Hydro in the press - (23/1)

Look out for pictures in tomorrows Manchester Evening News and next weeks Stockport Express of Simon in action over teh last few days - so far we have a total of 4 salmon that have been created with another one on it way.

The artist will be on site until 2:00pm tomorrow (Saturday) - so come and see an artist in action.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Fish, fish and more fish - (23/1)

What a fantastic transformation of a Sycamore tree alongside Torrs Hydro - try and get yourself down to site on Saturday as the engine house will be manned all day so if you ask nicely you may get a brief tour of the inside !

Take a look at Kens video to see work in progress for the tree which is scheduled to be completed on Saturday.

100,000 kWh and counting - (22/1)

On Monday evening we smashed through the 100,000 kWh barrier - we know its only numbers, but it is a significant milestone for everyone concerned.

By the way, 100,000 kWh is enough electricity to keep a light bulb running for nearly 200 years !

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Update - (21/1)

We now have a excellent power display installed at Torrs Hydro courtesy of Radius UK which gives a real time display of current output.

Reminder that for the rest of this week and Saturday we have a resident tree sculptor at Torrs Hydro creating leaping fish with a cherry picker, axes, chain saws and other exciting things !

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Landscaping - (15/1)

The first 10 days of the year progress was slowed with the landscaping due to 'permafrost' in the Torrs and several days of snow, but in the past week the pace has picked up again and we now have a magnificent new stone wall at the tail race which is supporting and preserving the existing wall of Torr Mill.

Next steps (literally) are to build a walkway alongside the screw with steps leading down to the bottom, next week also sees the arrival of another picnic bench and work to tidy up the approach road from Rock Tavern down towards the weir.

The safety fences are now being built and are now planned to be installed the second week in February.

Next Tuesday an external power display will be installed so visitors can see a live feed of kW being produced.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Updates - (12/01)

After the Winter drought and the much welcomed thaw the rivers Sett and Goyt have risen to expected levels for this time of year and this afternoon 'Archie' was producing 48 kW per hour.

Further rain expected in the morning should see this rise to be 50-51 kW by lunch time tomorrow following some work last week in removing silt form the tail race end of the screw.

The landscaping project is back in full swing despite recent weather conditions and the new wall should be completed by the end of this week (its currently hidden behind tarpaulins to protect the mortar from the elements !

Friday, 9 January 2009

Icicles - (09/01)

Well the thaw has started and as expected the river levels have risen slightly so we are back in production as of yesterday (Thursday morning) - proper rain is expected at the end of the weekend.
The picture above shows an icicle that had grown to about 4 ft in circumference and nearly three foot long before melting away today to nothing.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Theres a drought ! - (06/12)

Who would have thought that at the beginning of January we would have to temporarily stop producing power due to lack of water !

Despite lots of snow in the last couple of days there has been no rain since before Christmas Day.
I'm sure once the snow and ice begin to melt in the next 24 hours we will be up and running very soon after.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Date for your diaries - (04/01)

From 21 to 24 January Simon O'Rourke from will be onsite at Torrs Hydro New Mills creating two leaping fish from a tree !

Simon will be using a cherry picker, chain saws, chisels and lots of elbow grease to create this masterpiece.

The location of the tree will allow for great views as the tree trunks are gradually transformed over the four days - so please feel free to come along and see an artist in action.

This project has been funded by the Environment Agency and agreed in partnership between Torrs Hydro New Mills and New Mills Town Council.