A 3.7 kW crossflow turbine has been installed at the end of the leat at Peggs Farm. There is a working 3.8 m diameter wheel also fed from the leat, which is still used to produce animal feed for the farm.

The site is on the Fontmell Brook – a tributary of the River Stour – between Fontmell Magna and Child Okeford. The installation of this renewable electricity generation is estimated to generate 14,000 kWh/yr saving 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and provides for some of the high electrical demand at this diary farm. This farm diversification provides income to the farm from the Feed in tariff and sales of electricity. A crossflow turbine was chosen to match the head and flows and at this site. The rated flow of the turbine is determined by the 3.9 m head and flows available. To comply with the Environment Agency Good Practise Guidelines, a 300 mm diameter turbine, taking a maximum flow of 0.120 m3s was chosen. The project included repair of leaks in the leat wall and construction of a new brick turbine house for the turbine, generator, grid connect and control unit.

Extensive negotiation with the Environment Agency was required to ensure that the scheme design and methods of construction complied with the environmental standards expected to achieve the necessary Abstraction License and Flood Defence Consent. It was decided to install the turbine in a new lean-to building next to the existing mill where the wheel is located. The grid connection is arranged so that electricity generated supplies the needs of the site, only exporting to the grid when there is a surplus.

The total project budget was £60,000. Sowing Seeds provided £21,807 but the process from initial agreement to receipt of the grant took 3 years. This is one of three hydropower projects in the area in receipt of the grant, all using different hydro turbine technologies.

There are numerous old mill sites and other potential hydropower sites in Dorset. The Feed in Tariffs, sales of electricity and avoided import of electricity make development of these sites financially attractive. Project management is not beyond the scope of a talented amateur but the complexity of the design and license application process means that expert advice is usually required. It is intended (and required under the conditions of the grant received) that the project will be well monitored, documented and publicised to enable other Dorset hydro projects to learn from the experience gained in developing and maintaining hydropower at Peggs Farm.

The project was developed with Potent Energy – find out more at: www.potenergy.co.uk.

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Thanks to Sustainable Dorset for project details