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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  09/12/2011  :  09:30

POWER FOR THE PEOPLE.

Once again the vexed question of alternative energy from wind power is being debated in the local press. My personal view is that wind turbines are a thing of beauty and I love seeing them slowly turning and producing clean energy. However, I don't want to get into an argument with those who hold opposing views beyond pointing out that when they refer to our 'unspoilt' countryside and natural views that they are talking about a landscape that has been modified by the hand of man since the first inhabitants of our area felled a tree or enclosed a field.

Being an historian I am more interested in another proven source of renewable, carbon emission free energy which we used in Barlick for hundreds of years, water power. I love the bulk of the Weets and Whitemoor looming over the town to the South West. I always remember Psalm 121; 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help...' and no, I didn't have to look that up. Wycliffe Sunday School in Stockport and many years on the church choir embedded many parts of the Bible in my brain. Apart from being a superb protector of the town against the prevailing south west winds it gathers much of the rain which would otherwise fall on us and delivers it to the town down the many drains and gulleys which are the source of Gillians and Calf Hall Becks. Give our ancestors their due, they knew what to do with this water. True, some uses like handy natural sewers was one of the least attractive of these but they also managed the flow to power water mills. Ouzledale Mill was a saw mill and in later years a water-powered iron foundry. The Corn mill was driven by water and Gillians, Parrock, Mitchell's (later Clough) and Old Coates were all water driven cotton mills. County Brook Mill is in Barlick and used the water off the tail end of the Weets which flows down through Earby and onwards to the River Aire. Further down the valley towards the Ribble Valley, Bracewell Corn Mill was powered by the Stock Beck which was the combined flow of Gillians and Butts becks. For hundreds of years the water was used for useful purposes.

By the early 19th century steam power was developed and gradually usurped water power. The last working water wheels were at Clough where its power supplemented the new steam engine installed before 1827, at the Corn Mill where a turbine was installed in the mid 19th century and at County Brook where the wheel was still being used in the 1930s, Newton Pickles told me about doing repairs on it in the late 1920s when he was just starting work. However, there were easier ways of turning a mill after the 1930s, oil engines, gas engines and eventually electricity finally killed the old water wheels off. One of the things that I have often noted is that when a resource is no longer valuable to us, we tend to forget about it. Who can remember where the town wells were today? We have had no need for them since the 1890s when we got a mains water supply. The same thing happened to the power from the water running through the town, once it was not needed for the mills the old dams fell into disrepair and we forgot about it.

Of course the water is still there. That free energy source is still with us but in times like the Barlick Flood of July 1932 was seen as a danger, not a resource. Indeed it was the neglect of the water courses which allowed the high water running down from the moor to be so destructive. Incidentally this danger persists to this day and we have not yet addressed the matter of the choke points in the system. One of these days we may regret this.

Does anyone remember the 2009 initiative, 'The Barnoldswick Beckside Regeneration Scheme'? I suggested at the time that part of the project could be to install a water wheel or turbine in Clough Park powered by the same water that drove Ouzledale and Mitchell's mills providing not only an interesting feature but a source of energy. The Council were so taken by the idea that they asked for a copy of the article but since then I have heard nothing of it. My point is that I know of at least three useful sites in the town where, with minimal investment and no impact on the visual amenities, carbon-free renewable electricity could be generated and fed into the National Grid providing a small but reliable source of income. I have a friend who owns a water site who has done just this and over the years it has been profitable.

We are not talking about vast amounts of energy, in global terms it would be minuscule, but it would be a valid statement of intent and a tangible commitment to helping the environment. The stumbling block is of course the capital cost, perhaps we need to think laterally. Suppose someone pointed out to Tesco that within 200 yards of their proposed new store there was a water power site which could produce enough electricity to make a significant reduction in their energy bill, improve their carbon footprint and be a valuable public relations asset to them. I think that given the cooperation of the planning authorities a feasibility study might convince everyone that whilst this was not going to produce an enormous profit in the short term. In the long term it would pay for itself and the more energy prices rose, the more profitable it would be.

I don't expect Tesco or the Council to come knocking on my door because, like the town wells, these hidden resources have not only fallen out of mind but are automatically dismissed as pipe dreams. This could well be true but at least it's original thinking and I suspect we would get more progress on renewable energy if we thought the unthinkable, looked closely at the possibilities and didn't allow ourselves to be ruled by short term thinking. Such a use of existing resources would be Power for the People in more ways than one.

Butts Beck. This dam served the corn mill and is still in good order.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk

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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 21/12/2011 : 11:13
Fuel source.  Its a lot more econonic to built the plant near to the fuel source to minimise transport costs.  Grid tying an electric generation plant is an economic way of exporting the valuable bit, particulary when a FIT is factored in.  Sourcing and moving large amounts of animal manure or other waste to a particular location is econmically unviable and politically sensitive. ( I can see the NIMBY prompted headlines now....... ).

 The modern way of dealing with the pathogens is to use waste heat from the process to seperate / evaporate the water out of the stuff left over to produce a dry powder which is safe to handle and can be spread on land much like nitrogen fertaliser. 


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 21/12/2011 : 17:09
Apparently the high court have ruled that the governments sudden decrease in the solar feed in tariff is 'legally flawed' . The beeb isn't saying much else :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16291768 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 22/12/2011 : 04:59
Doc was looking at my engines the other day and said that I should put a steam coil in the new stove, run and engine on a small alternator and make enough juice for the TV and the lights...... All possible but I don't think I'll bother.... Why have I suddenly had this mental picture of Jack in a hamster wheel?


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 22/12/2011 : 16:17
On the solar feed-in tariff FIT, I didn't know until reading that latest news the other government proposals which would make FITs out of reach to many people regardless of the tariff itself. Quoting the BBC: "Among the government's other proposals are changing the criteria for eligibility for FiTs. The consultation suggests that houses should have to meet insulation standards before they qualify - for example, insisting that it should have an Energy Performance Certificate C rating at least. Demo Campaigners warned the changes risked thousands of jobs - and MPs agreed Government data suggest this would require 86% of homes to get an upgrade before becoming eligible. In most cases this would cost about £5,600, but could be much more expensive"...."This will stop nine out of 10 installations from going ahead, which will have a devastating effect on hundreds of solar companies and small building firms installing these panels across the country."

Some local news on the Hinckley Point nuclear site which is about 15 miles from where I live and should be installing the UK's next reactor. It's being blocked by Lady Gass, the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset. Now that's interesting as she sold EDF the land on which to build the extended plant, a couple of hundred acres of farmland for a very large sum (I seem to recall about £50 million). Sell them the land then block the building of the reactor! My first reaction was to call her a hypocrite but then I found out why she is blocking it. EDF have taken out a bond to provide sufficient money to restore the land if it was all dug up, work begun and then the project cancelled. The idea is that the bond's money would go to restoring the land to it's former state. But, according to Lady Gass, the local council has failed to put in place a safeguard to ensure that the money from the bond would be used only for that purpose. So it's a case of who to believe. But what a way to run a country's energy supply!


Edited by - Tizer on 22/12/2011 16:18:55


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 23/12/2011 : 05:41
There is an intersting article in PE this week pointing out that apart from the set-back to nuclear power caused ny the Japanese reactor failure, the pressure to build has eased because of the economic downturn lowering demand. No sign as yet of the next generation of power stations of whatever type. This means that the easist to construct and commission will be the only choice eventually, more gas-fired stations.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 23/12/2011 : 13:42
The I've seen several articles saying that Fakushima was a good advert for Nuclear Safety.  A forty year old plant that was approaching (if not passed) its sell by date that went through a massive natural disaster that wiped out most of its systems and backups and it remained largely intact, with all its fuel still contained.  The radiation that was released was minimal (mainly vented gas and contaminated seawater), and its claimed one death which was a crane accident that happened during the containment phase.  From what they learned from Chernobyl they aren't expecting many if any deaths from radioactivity.  The earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear incident, killed thousands, in a 1st world country thats set up for earthquakes.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 24/12/2011 : 04:46
Plugs, one of the things that has always struck me about objections because of the dangers of nuclear power completely ignore the exponantially larger death toll over the years from 'conventional' sources. The only clean energy before nuclear was Hydro. The Chinese coal mines kill mo0re miners every year than all the nuclear put together and that's leaving aside the collateral deaths and disablement from the pollution. On purely logical grounds we would have gone nuclear many years ago.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
thomo
Barlick Born Old Salt


2021 Posts
Posted - 24/12/2011 : 09:42
Nuclear power is similar to many developments in respect of things going wrong, in time it will not only be completely safe but probably essential. Yesterdays BET front page was interesting, a group of residents fighting against a wind turbine. What grabbed me was not so much the the problem they face, but how where they live has gone from former POW camp through hotel to become "Horton Lodge"? very twee! and what was Stock Beck is now Butts Beck. Suburbia has arrived!


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 25/12/2011 : 06:33
Same thing struck me Peter. Did you notice that they all had their arms folded aggressively? Did the snapper pose them? I have many happy memories of the Coronation when Bunty ran it and barred all the Wallace Arnold coaches because they needed extra staff on to keep the toilets clean! Horton Lodge? More like Coronation Villas. A gated enclave and the planners let them get away with it.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2012 : 10:13
Last night I finally took receipt of the Hydro study after some IT technical hitches.

I have handed it to Karen in the library to copy, and this may become available to people later in the week or next. I thought that was easier than offering to lend out the CD with the rather large report and appendicies on.

It is very interesting, especially the study of the vailable turbines and their various proficiences. Lots of material, but the only identified one in Craven is in Earby. It appears comprehensive, but then I'm no engineer. I would have to ask my daughter for some translations if appropriate.


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wendyf
Senior Member


1439 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2012 : 10:35
Is the one in Earby at the old mill site behind the youth hostel?


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2012 : 14:48


quote:
wendyf wrote:
Is the one in Earby at the old mill site behind the youth hostel?

Karen currently has the CD with the info on, and to be fair I have only read the initial document. Earby was not on my radar, so I didn't pick up the details, although each bit has a map showing locations, water flows etc.



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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2012 : 15:32
Here is the other document from the Council

http://www.pendle.gov.uk/info/856/local_development_framework/829/ldf_evidence_base_documents/9

probably enough pictures to keep anyone entertained for a while.


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