New Mills hydro first is a beacon

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OVER half of a New Mills supermarket's electricity needs look set to be provided by hydro power.

The Co-operative store takes all the power that can be produced by the Torrs Hydro scheme on the River Goyt.

It is forecast to produce 240,000kWh of green electricity a year, taking into account seasonal variations in water level – enough to power over 50% of the 7,340 sq ft store's electricity needs.

The project is the first in the country to be owned and funded by local people though a unique share scheme which has led to the community forming an Industrial and Provident Society for the benefit of the community.

Chris Shearlock, Sustainable Development Manager at The Co-operative Group, said: "We are very proud to be taking our climate change agenda to new levels by adding micro-hydro power to our strong track record on renewable energy.

"In addition to buying the hydro electricity for our food store in New Mills, The Co-operative's family of businesses have worked together to support the innovative scheme, with a grant from The Co-operative Fund to help with the establishment of community-ownership and The Co-operative Bank helping with commercial finance. We are also planning to extend this support to further micro-hydro schemes across the country."

Richard Body, Director of Torrs Hydro, said: "The Torrs Hydro scheme has brought our community together and we are delighted at the way The Co-operative Group has supported this project in so many ways."