History of the Sutton Park Hydro Project
Eco Sutton members had heard people say, ‘where there has been a water mill, there is a possible site for electricity generation’ Sutton Park and the surrounding area was well known in the past and into the nineteenth century for water mills.
We raised the issue at the City Council’s Sustainability Forum in 2012 and gained the interest of Sandy Taylor (the City’s Head of Climate Change and Environment). At the end of 2013 Mr Taylor was in the position of being able to allocate funding for a feasibility study which would look at the viability of min-hydro generation at Sutton Park and Witton Lakes.
During 2014 the city commissioned an initial feasibility study which reported that both schemes would be viable, if the Sutton scheme was based at the outlet of Powells Pool. The viability depended upon the electricity generated being paid for by the Ofgem Feed in Tariff. This income would allow the capital costs of the turbine and its installation to be paid off over a 20 year period. Eco Sutton convened a hydro sub committee and began planning how the community would be involved in the project; and how the stakeholders of Powells Pool and other park users would receive information about the scheme.
In the autumn of 2014 the city commissioned a final feasibility study, which reversed the recommendations of the initial study and announced that the Powells Pool scheme would not be financially viable.
The Eco Sutton Hydro Sub Committee have recruited from the local community an energy manager who was able to make a peer review of the feasibility studies and confirm that the Powells Pool scheme would not be possible, even if a simpler turbine was used.