The 35kW hydraulic turbine will be built on a weir that is at least 150 years old, but which up to now has been maintained by the Environment Agency. The flour mill which the weir serviced, sent water through a short sluice to an internal water wheel. The Broad Raine mill ceased to operate in the 1970s and the building is now being converted to house.
The River Lune which runs from north to south at this point changes from being a wide gentle river to become a narrow raging torrent that cascades over rocks through a narrow gorge. Salmon migrating upstream from across the Atlantic in order to lay their eggs in the upper reaches of the river negotiate the weir either on the east bank by a series of natural rocky steps or on the west side by an outdated fish-pass built in the last century.
In the past the Environment Agency was interested in the site because it used the fish-pass to monitor the size of the salmon moving upstream. Upstream from the fish-pass is a small building which housed the monitoring equipment. There is also a large fish holding tank where during the latter months of the year the spawning salmon are captured and their eggs extracted and fertilised. They are then reared and eventually introduced into the waters of the upper reaches of the river. This is done by the volunteers of the Middleton Hatchery Group, which is represented on the Board of RainePower.
Following one of the wettest Cumbrian summers in 30 years and after some delays to the programme, the Archimedes screw was fitted into the Powerhouse in Mid-September . This is a significant milestone in the project and the team have all worked extra hard to make sure the infrastructure was ready before our permit to work in the river runs out at the end of September. After all the rain, it was a bright sunny day when the crane and screw arrived on site. to view photo’s of construction click here.
The outstanding work now is on the fish pass. It is hoped this will be completed before the end of September, weather permitting, and we have applied to the Environment Agency for an extension of the time limit.
We are hoping the scheme will be generating electricity during early October.