With all the funding in place and the Hydro generation Scheme on course to be a reality (not just a dream!!), this is the first of a series of newsletters to keep you updated on key aspects of the project and progress towards generating the all-important Volts and Amps.

With each newsletter, we will also produce an information sheet on various aspects of the Project. A draft list is attached at the end of this newsletter; if there are any items not covered that you think may be of interest to the wider circulation please let us know and we’ll try to oblige.
 

Firstly, a quick review of an especially important aspect – The Monies!

A total of £703,000 has been invested via the Community Share Offer. Once again a Big Thank You to those of you who have invested -you really are the ones making the dream turn into reality.

A £57,000 Investment has been made by the Power to Change Community Share Booster Matching Scheme  – this has allowed us to prudently increase the contingency allowance by £30K.

In addition, we have received grants of £10,000 from the Cheshire East Bright Ideas Fund to enhance the boardwalk’s suitability for delivering the Education Programme and a grant of £73,000 from the Regional Communities Energy Fund to further enhance the Education programme and reduce the tree and vegetation ingress of the Grade II Listed Weir Structure. Both are essentially separate to the main project but contribute to the overall aims.
 

On Track, Despite Global Pandemics!

Despite restrictions imposed by Coronavirus, the whole project is moving ahead quite smoothly, and the hard-earned monies are being spent (within budget and with exemplary financial control and monitoring).

After a competitive bidding process, the order for the Archimedes Screw has been placed with Landustrie of the Netherlands, and installation / mechanical drawings have been approved with delivery expected on schedule in October.

After the Archimedes Screw, the most important element of the work is the Site Works and Civils Construction. The contract for this has been awarded to CT Construction. CT, based in the High Peaks, have good experience of projects being constructed on river plains and have also undertaken the civils for a similar Hydro Scheme.

Their Project Manager, for the Congleton Hydro Scheme, Oliver Tolputt is the current Chair of the NW Branch of the Institution of Civils Engineers. They are currently beavering away preparing all the necessary documentation, site plans, bills of quantities, Health and Safety responsibilities and organograms, etc.

They will physically start site work on August 3rd. A contract has also been placed with Dutton Contractors for the installation of the cable from the generator to Siemens (who are purchasing the power). The buried cable is just under 1km in length, crosses two public highways plus the land of a School Academy and a farm. We are grateful to these two properties for agreeing to enter into wayleave contracts for this work to be undertaken. The cable installation programme will commence on August 3rd and last a few weeks.

A key enabler for this work is the implementation/discharge of the “pre-work” planning conditions—mainly associated with tree protection and ecology/environmental updates. If you are interested, these can be viewed on the Cheshire East planning portal, application reference 20/2324D-A.

A lot of meticulous work has gone into the preparation of these planning submissions and with the support of the planning staff of Cheshire East Council, it is envisaged that the necessary approvals will be in place for site work to indeed start on during the week beginning August 3rd.

A worry during “the lockdown” has been any serious delay in the progress of the construction of the Congleton Relief Road, as these works directly affect the site access for our construction traffic. Work, however, has been proceeding and should be sufficiently complete for our site programme to go ahead without serious delay.

Finally, when will we be generating? Well, at one point during the lockdown when the world seemed to be ending (!) we were worried that the scheme would be seriously delayed. However, with the hard work and determination of all involved—ourselves, sub-contractors, Cheshire East Planning, etc. we currently plan to be generating by January/February 2021 i.e. only one/two months behind the original plan put together in “a normal world”.

Well done to everybody for coming together to make this work—augurs well for a successful project.

We hope you have found this update to be interesting as well as informative. We will strive to produce further updates on a regular basis. One of the near-term ones will look at volunteers needed and their important roles in maintaining the scheme and delivering the education programme. In the meantime, we would be more than happy for you to indicate a possible volunteering interest  by contacting: info@congletonhydro.co.uk

We mentioned at the start of this newsletter that we would also produce a short article on various aspects of the project. The first of these can be downloaded on the button below, some of you may recall seeing this some time ago but we thought worth starting off with this as a reminder of what the Project is all about.

#staysafe 
 

Congleton Hydro Team
Dane Valley Community Energy Ltd (FCA Registration 7142)