A FIVE-year project in the making started to come to fruition this week with an elaborate operation to install an 11 tonne screw into the River Esk.
The Archimedean screw turbine was lowered into the water by a crane on Tuesday morning and will be used to generate 160,000 khw of green energy per year – enough to power around 45 homes.
Over the past couple of years, community group Esk Energy (Yorkshire) Limited, has been drumming up financial backing for the scheme and launched a share issue to generate funds to get the project off the ground.
Earlier this year it agreed a £450,000 contract with Skipton based JN Bentley Ltd to design and install the turbine which is based upon a device invented in ancient Greece by Archimedes of Syracuse.
His design sent water upwards from the hold of a ship and in this case the technology will be reversed to move water down the weir.
Four tonnes of water will be sent down the screw every second forcing it to rotate and the energy made by the turning screw will be made into electricity.
The screw is 2.9 metres in diameter and the size and shape of it means fish and leaves can pass through safely.
It is hoped the project will make £1 million within the first 20 years from feed in tariffs and that it will lead to grants towards solar, wind and water energy generating systems as well as education programmes in schools and green energy apprenticeships.
Colin Mather, a retired civil engineer and the chairman of Esk Energy said it had been an exciting day for all involved.
He said: “Think global and act local has always been one of our mottos and after five years of planning, obtaining permissions and fund-raising, we are nearing the point of realising our vision of harnessing the power of the River Esk to create clean energy.
“We are grateful to all those who have supported us and, to the members of our co-operative who worked to turn this idea into reality and bring about the delivery of a scheme that can deliver a generation of green energy while offering wider social and community benefits.”
Esk Energy has worked with The Co-operative Enterprise Hub which helps community-owned energy projects and aims to change people’s thinking about energy and inspire others to take action.