Just returned from Northern Ireland where Paul and I will be covering for the rest of the year whilst Kate the environmental advisor is off. Paul was helping with controls and heating systems. I spent a few days looking at specific projects including a couple of potential PV roofs, wind turbine sites. But the projects which were a new area for me were the three old water mills (saw mill, linnen and spade making). the potential in the old mills is interesting. the three have superb infrastructure with hundreds of meters of leat (or ponds as some people call them in NI) two with operating water wheels and one with an old hydro but all in fairly good condition but designed for something different.
two have had feasibilities undertaken and concluded that a couple of Archimedes screws would be the best options for two sites ( fish protection side but also on the visitor engagement side, its good to see something operating). the sites where chosen because of their use of the waters power and we are simply following suit. the archemedian screw is very old technology but in terms of hydros is fairly young. The third site ‘Pattersons spade mill has an old DC hydro in place which is still used occisionaly for the spade mill. the idea being to build something near the site to harness the power and engage with visitors.
i have a bit of experience with high head hydros but have not been involved in low head development. Although we do have a low head system in S wales which also uses a water wheel. If the projects develop further i will keep you informed. Interestingly in England and wales the guidance on using mills and in situ old technology still is not clear in terms of eligibility for FIT but in Northern Ireland Quad ROCs are available for anything under 20kw and triple ROCs for anything over