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The wheel deal

Money talks: Members of Esk Energy Co-operative Enterprise have successfully raised over £450,000 towards a hydro-electric turbine

A community co-operative has awarded the contract to supply a hydro-electric turbine for a sustainable energy scheme nearWhitbyto fellow Yorkshire-based business, JN Bentley.

Esk Energy (Yorkshire) – which worked with The Co-operative Enterprise Hub to run a successful community share issue during 2011 – has awarded the £450,000 contract to the Skipton-based construction company for the design and installation of a fish-friendly turbine – known as an Archimedes screw – in the River Esk, Ruswarp.

Utilising more than four tonnes of water per second, the single Archimedean screw rotates to turn energy into electricity and, it is estimated that this scheme will generate almost 200,000kWh of green electricity each year, cutting carbon emissions by 1,500 tonnes during its first 20 years.

It is expected that installation will start in April with electricity generation commencing during the summer (2012).

Surplus income ‘generated’ by the community co-operative will be used for both educational and further carbon reduction initiatives, including: a grant system towards the installation of solar, wind and water energy generating systems in the Esk Valley; programmes for education providers and, green energy apprenticeships.

Colin Mather, a retired civil engineer himself and Chair of Esk Valley Community Energy Group, said: “After four years of planning, obtaining permissions and fundraising, the final design stage has now commenced and we’d like to thank all those who have helped us to put the pieces of the jigsaw together and reach this remarkable milestone – our shareholders, The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, North York Moors National Park Authority, North Yorkshire County Council, CO2Sense, Key Fund and, Naturesave are amongst those who have helped to bring this project to life.”

Michael Fairclough, the Co-operative’s head of community and co-operative investment, said: “The co-operative business model gives people a say in how services are delivered and it is a model that is being increasingly adopted. As more and more people rediscover the benefits of self-help and mutual ownership, the co-operative alternative will, without doubt, play an increasing part in fostering future enterprise – contributing to the rebuilding of a more balanced and sustainable UK economy.”

Jon Cain, engineering director at JN Bentley, concluded: “We have been working with Esk Energy for over two years now and their enthusiasm and dedication in bringing this project to fruition has been incredible. We look forward to working with them even more closely as we move into the detailed design and construction phases of the scheme.”

Shares can still be purchased in the green energy scheme from as little as £250 (up to a maximum of £20,000). Further information on the project is available by visiting www.whitbyeskenergy.org.uk or by calling 01287 669641.

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