Time to look at microhydro
Today we have started the study of four more rivers to see whether any are capable of generating electricity for us. A Feasibility study is being carried out by a London-based company that specialises in micro systems. They have experience installing systems around the developing world, and have a number of solar power schemes that have just been relocated to Haiti to help in the disaster zone.
Back in the Western Isles, the weather for the survey work is suitably wet and grey - I thought everyone knew to bring wellies when coming to Harris! We have been looking at streams/rivers in Rhenigedale, Urgha, Kyle Scalpay and Govig. We’re obviously looking for some volume of water, ideally some drop (head) and either electricity grid, or domestic properties where we can dispose of the electricity we generate. These are all very small schemes, but with the new Feed-in Tariffs due to start in April, paying nearly 20p per unit of electricity generated -it starts to make sense.
Whilst surveying the sites, we came upon a scheme which one of the local residents has been working on for a number of years. The loch at Govig has a weir and intake pipe which fed an old Pelton-type turbine. The electrics never really worked, so a traditional water wheel was built further down stream. Unfortunately, the tide eventually got the better of that idea.