At long last, after four years of planning, designing, calculating, learning, rucks of hard work, despair and euphoria, progressing one step at a time and sometimes backwards Congleton Hydro is set to become a reality.
The Community Share Offer closed at midnight on April 17th and a grand total of £705,000 has been Invested by people from the local community and all parts of the UK. An Investment by the Power to Change’s Community Share Matching Booster Scheme* has ensured that the total investment has exceeded the target of £730,000 which is needed to fully fund the scheme.
Two core and critical parts of the project are the Civil works (documentation finalisation, site preparation, construction of the Archimedes Screw foundation plinths, inlet water feed and so on) To enable these to commence we also need to construct the site access track off the Macclesfield Road). The whole method of generation is based on water flow through an Archimedes Screw and the two shortlisted suppliers have been asked to provide their best and final offers for price and delivery. It is planned that we will place contracts for the Civil works and the Archimedes Screw within the next couple of weeks.
Site work is currently planned to commence by the end of June.
However, this will be subject to being able to safely work within whatever Coronavirus preventative restrictions will be in place at the time. Also, before site work can commence there are a few planning conditions that need to be implemented/discharged, including the traffic management requirements associated with access to the site and the construction of the access track itself. Coronavirus restrictions may hamper progress with these, however with the co-operation and pro-active support of Cheshire East organisations and officers it is hoped that timely solutions will be found.
The current plan is for electricity to be generated before the end of this year; this is still the target but because of the uncertainties associated with Coronavirus may slip into early new year.
As well as generating “green energy”, helping to reduce the sources of climate change and generating funds for Community Projects, the Project will also provide and resource an extensive Education Project to help inform school children, young people and other interested groups of the various aspects of sustainability, the environment and how technology plays an important role.
It is hoped that one of the outputs will be “Green Champions” who will be able to carry the knowledge into future generations.
During the course of the Project, updates will be provided on progress and descriptions of the various elements of the scheme eg The Education Programme, how is Electricity Generated, and so on.
So, with thanks to all who have invested there is a bright light in these days of uncertainty.