Yorkshire hydroelectric power plant starts generating

The largest low-head river hydro plant to be built in Yorkshire has started generating electricity using the flow of the River Don.  

The £2.1m plant, developed by Barn Energy and Yorkshire Hydropower, will generate electricity for the next 100 years. 

Located at Thrybergh Weir on the River Don, near the village of Kilnhurst and five miles north-east of Rotherham, the hydropower scheme uses the flow of the River Don to power two large turbines to generate renewable electricity, enough to supply 300 homes in perpetuity. 

The plant was officially opened on 16 October by Labour MP John Healey Richard Mercer, Head of Utilities at the Canal & River Trust.

As part of the project, Barn Energy has built a fish and eel passage to enable salmon and trout to swim upstream in the direction of Sheffield and help the River’s eel and elver populations recover.  

“I am delighted that Yorkshire can boast this outstanding low head hydropower scheme,” said Barn Energy Chief Executive, Mark Simon.

“In making this special project happen, we have worked tirelessly with the Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency and local interests to ensure that hydropower enriches and repairs the local environment of the River Don, as well as reduce our burning of fossil fuels. 

“This project has been supported by the local MP, John Healey, and has been supported by local angling clubs. It can justifiably be regarded as an exemplar for renewable energy in this country. It offers baseload electricity, delivering clean energy highly efficiently into the local grid. It is a very long term source of clean electricity - there’s no reason why Thrybergh won’t be running into the next century. This is truly a ‘Northern Powerhouse’.” 

Mr Healey added: “It’s great to see this type of long-term investment in energy infrastructure, especially as it is generating clean energy and repairing some of the damage done by centuries of industrialisation. I have been struck by the support for this scheme from the local community and the close working between the Canal & River Trust and the project development team. I am pleased Barn Energy’s first project in Yorkshire is in Rotherham, and wish them every success with their other schemes.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues