City action on water and solar power

PLANS to generate electricity from the River Don are surging forward at the same time that Sheffield aims to become a ‘Solar City’.

Volunteers are working on hydro power schemes at Jordan Dam, near Meadowhall, that would provide electricity for about 80 family homes, and at Kelham Island that would be linked to the industrial museum.

At Jordan Dam, which is next to Blackburn Meadows on the Rotherham side of Tinsley Viaduct, the aim is to harness the power of the water as it drops three metres over a weir.

Sheffield Renewables, a community and social enterprise, has now applied for planning permission. “This is another important step bringing Jordan Dam water power closer to fruition,” said managing director Rob Pilling, one of a core of around 20 volunteers.

They hope about half the £250,000 cost of getting the project up and running will be met through a European grant and the rest from selling shares, enabling members of the community to become owners.

The overall aim is to involve the community in generating renewable energy and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

At Jordan Dam, the strategy sees a reversal of the Archimedes screw principle, enabling the downward movement of the water to generate electricity. The scheme could be up and running by early next year, followed by Kelham Island the following year.

Meanwhile, attempts to harness the power of the sun are being stepped up.

Photovoltaic panels are being planned at some leisure centres and other buildings as part of an initiative called Sheffield Solar City that aims to see other public buildings added to the list, along with more than 10,000 council homes.

Councillors were yesterday (Wednesday) due to approve a list comprising the Centre in the Park in Norfolk Park, Stocksbridge Sports Centre, Staniforth Road Depot in Darnall, Carbrook offices in Attercliffe, Electric Works near the railway station, Springs Leisure Centre near Manor Top and Wisewood School Sports Centre.

The council is working with Kier, its partner that maintains council houses and other public buildings, which is meeting the capital and maintenance costs of the solar initiative over 25 years.

Coun Andrew Sangar, cabinet member for climate change, said: “This project will bring significant changes in the ways our homes, businesses and public organisations generate and obtain their electricity and heating.”