Hydropower station could start generating electricity to power homes

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The biggest hydropower station in Yorkshire could begin generating electricity next month.

Barn Energy is developing the £5.3m scheme, which is expected to be operational for 100 years, at Kirkthorpe along the Aire and Calder Navigation.

And it could be powering homes across the Wakefield district before Christmas.

Mark Simon, chief executive of Yorkshire Hydropower Limited said: “We are expecting the Kirkthorpe development will start generating by the end of November. It is on schedule and on budget and before Christmas Wakefield will have a new power supply that will generate enough electricity for 800 households.”

The developers will then complete work on the project and an official opening is expected next year.

Work to construct a £6.5m hydropower station at Brotherton Weir, along the River Aire, is also underway. Contractor Eric Wright began work on the Knottingley site in August.

Mr Simon said: “The government is cutting back on subsidies for renewables. Kirkthorpe and Knottingley will be the two largest hydro power stations in Yorkshire, but also the last that will ever be done on that scale.

“We have broken ground and started work at Knottingley. That is on schedule for delivery for August 2017.”

Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: “It is great news for the district that Kirkthorpe Hydropower Scheme will be up and running in November.

“By ensuring that more renewable energy is available we can help to protect the local environment and provide reliable, clean energy for future generations.”