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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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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 12/12/2011 : 04:55
The bugger's probably responsible! Fracking in his back yard?


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 12/12/2011 : 04:59
PS. I heard the man talking about fracking and he mentioned the survey for oil BP and others did in the late 1950s. I remember the German firm doing seismic tests all the wat along the verge of the by-pass at Clitheroe. No explosives, they vibrated the ground with large plates forced into contact with the ground by jacking the wagons up on them. Fascinating stuff.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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


453 Posts
Posted - 12/12/2011 : 10:33
Something is shifting those large stones in the beck


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 15/12/2011 : 16:27
Pendle is sending the disk out to me with the hydro report on it, apparently it is too big to send via email Surprised shout if you'd like to borrow it Stanley.

I have also asked the question:

How much electricity could be generated by all the buildings of Pendle Council if it embraced all the methods outlined in it's report on renewables.

That report is coming too Wink


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 15/12/2011 : 16:29
I just noticed that the GP Town Council meeting on 4th January 2012will consider:

7. Local Energy Assessment FundTo consider initiating a community energy scheme

Be interesting to see where.



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Whyperion
Regular Member


122 Posts
Posted - 15/12/2011 : 22:04
If only they could also harness 35% of the hot air on this website as well.

But more serious there should be a power contribution from all sources as previously mentioned , but its difficult to know if the initial financial investment is still worth it both privately and publically.  

 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 06:03
Any capital invested now will look cheap in twenty years. We may well get to a point where the availablity of energy outweighs the cost. All available resources should be harnessed as a general principle. First cost is not always the full story.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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


5150 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 10:12
The government shot itself in the foot with the Feed In Tariff (FIT) for photovoltaic cells, encouraging a lot of commercial ventures which used up too much of the budget then reducing the tariff dramatically, frightening off domestic users and jeopardising the industry that had just been started up to supply the big demand.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 10:38


quote:
Tizer wrote:
The government shot itself in the foot with the Feed In Tariff (FIT) for photovoltaic cells, encouraging a lot of commercial ventures which used up too much of the budget then reducing the tariff dramatically, frightening off domestic users and jeopardising the industry that had just been started up to supply the big demand.

I can see both sides of the fence here.

The FIT was set at a level which failed to notice the resultant drop in prices of the panels and fitting that would ensue.

That extra FIT was being funded by everyone who took electricity from the grid, and the grants too.

If anyone can't see that paying for very little electricity is a good thing then maybe they live in the dark.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 10:39


quote:
Whyperion wrote:
If only they could also harness 35% of the hot air on this website as well.


Would there be a distinction in the feed in tariff dependant upon the amount of facetious comment?


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 11:38
Doing some wild guessimates on how much water could be turned to generating electric (0.5 m^3/second with a 20m head which translates to 50kw with believable turbine efficiency - half a ton of water a second dropping 70 feet) and working on it could average half that over time (probably wildly optimistic, it reduces to a dribble in dry spells ). Using todays feed in tariffs it would generate about £30,000 a year.  If  it cost 500 grand to install with 5 grand a year running costs. It would take 25 years to payback which is probably the realistic lifetime of the kit.

Unviable even on those figures. Half a ton of water a second is a lot of water,factor in the fish mincing element and it gets silly.....


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 12:06
As to the level of feed in tariff, it was very high for PV panels (about 4 times what the domestic consumer pays for it and 12-15 times the average wholesale cost).  The extra cost on everybody's bills is becoming a political hot pototo, they didn't really have much of a choice. PV panels are still attractive at the reduced tariff (maybe 14 years payback rather than 7) although it will dramatically affect the industry that sprang up to service the demand.

 


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 12:54
If anyone is interested in the real world generating capacity of a solar PV system in Barlick (2.5 kw peak) have a look at my monitoring system on

http://pluggy.is-a-geek.com 

 The red line on the first two graphs is what you're after.  It peaks at around 1kw at this time of year in the rare moments when the sun is unhampered by cloulds between 10 AM and Noon, nothing at all when its dark overcast.  Its on a roof at 35 degrees bearing 152 (S-SE ish).  Half a unit a day on an average day, 2 units on a good day this time of year.  It will do a lot better with the sun higher in the sky and longer daylight hours (hopefully).


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tripps
Senior Member


1404 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 13:17
Wow!!    That will take some looking at to get to grips with it.

I got a quote in August for this type of system, but finally decided against it.
For a 4kWp system I got two quotes - one firm said £12000, and another  whose survey was more impressive, and I would have chosen wanted  £16,000. Neither would consider less than 4kWp.

I decide against because my roof has four surfaces due to gable etc, and only two were direct South facing - the other two were East and West.  Some companoes would not fit unless South facing - this firm said it would only result in a 10% reduction. Who's  to be believed?
I didn't fancy my forty year old roof tiles being clambered over- if it resulted in roof leaks in the future what then? I also had some concerns about the visual impact.

 Neither company would give me any guarantee whatever that their performance figures would stand up.  I asked for a guarantee of (say  75% ) of what they quoted, but was refusd. They just kept chanting the sales mantra that they relied on government provided figures for their calculation.

I didn't for one moment think the government would renege on their promises, but that' what they did when they changed the date for the reduction of the feed in tarriff from 31/3/2012 to 13/12/2011. Having done that - I have no confidence that the 25 year tarrff period is safe.

Then after the tarriff was reduced, I got an Email saying that the scheme was still viable, and they would do it for £11,000.  I said if they had quoted that at first we would perhaps have had a deal.

The head of the Solar Panel Federation has said that even the reduced FiT figure is not guaranteed, and thus no company can legally give projected performance quotes, which are required, thus the whole industry has come to a standstill.

Thanks for the link  to your system - I look forward to watching it in future.


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 16/12/2011 : 13:42
The figure I've seen say they generate 70% of their due south figure at due east or due west.  The FIT is payed on whatever you generate irrespective of which way the panels face.  My dad has 5 of his 12 panels facing west, but they are wired to a seperate invertor which put the cost of the system up a bit.   Mine was just short of £6800.  They were a lot more expensive when I first looked at doing it around May last year.  The company I got mine from done are doing reduced pricing now, probably just to attempt to keep going.  Your quote probably involved several invertors which run around £1000-£1200 a  piece, mine has only one as all the panels face the same way..

2.5 kw was what would fit my on my terraced cottage roof.   


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