With the first water mills used over 2000 years ago, water is not only a vital resource for sustaining life, it can also be an effective way of generating clean energy. Whilst many old water mills are still in existence (if not in use!) across the UK, new, efficient technology is making Hydropower a go-to energy resource for countries increasingly looking to build a self-sufficient, secure and carbon-friendly energy supply. Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd from Kendal are keeping up the very British tradition of hydropower, having produced hydro turbines longer than any other company in the world.
Hydro currently produces around 17% of the world’s electricity and 90% of the world’s renewable power, with 25 countries, such as Iceland, depending on water power for 90% of their electricity generation.
A great example of a British hydro plant is the Pershore Weir Hydro Project that has been generating energy since 2014 when it was recognised as the UK’s best hydro scheme. It sells its energy to the clean energy supplier Good Energy. The impetus behind the project came out of the devastation of flooding, when farmer Charles Hudson decided to harness the power of the flood water for energy production, saving his farm land and protecting the environment all in one go!
The most common issue people have with hydro is that it can harm the natural environment in which it is placed. This is a very real concern. The WWF has been pushing for many years for new Hydro schemes, particularly in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Amazon, to take into account in the planning phase the potential harm to wildlife, alongside established criteria such as climate change mitigation, job and wealth creation. With proper planning, there are ways in which a balance can be achieved between these factors; the Pershore Weir Project is a great example of how Hydro is actually contributing to the biodiversity of the site in which it stands.
At BIBO, we realise the vital importance of water, whether its dispensed clean and fresh from a BIBO Classic or passed through a hydro turbine. So, as you step into Autumn, whether for the perfect cup of tea, for flu-fighting hydration, or for clean energy production, in the words of the British Hydropower Association, ‘for the perfect ENERGY mix – just add WATER!’
Guest Blogger: Nina Brown
Nina Brown is the founder of Tandem Collective (www.tandemcollective.org) and editor at InTandem Publications (intandempublications.com). Tandem aims to bring environmental issues to a broader audience through the arts.