New £7.5m hydro plant can produce ‘a century of power’

Yorkshire’s newest and biggest hydroelectric power plant can provide energy for the next 100 years, say its owners.

The £7.5million Barn Energy scheme in Knottingley, located just off the River Aire, was officially unveiled last Friday.

And the plant will generate electricity for 11 months of the year and is seen as a much cleaner way to produce energy.

In fact, the plant is set to produce enough energy to boil five million cups of tea per week - enough for everyone in Yorkshire.

Speaking at the unveiling, which was attended by England and Yorkshire cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott, chief executive of Barn Energy Mark Simon says the plant was built with longevity in mind.

Mr Simon said: “We wanted to build a long-term source of renewable energy that will be here in 100 years’ time.

“Nobody will rock up in 20 years and say ‘we can do this better’ because you can’t really.

“What you have here is an investment that is able to do the same thing in a hundred years from now.

“All of the work, barring the turbines, has been sourced from firms within 70 miles of here.

“Basically, everything has been sourced from around here.

“This is the third scheme we’ve built in as many years here in Yorkshire - and each one has been bigger than the last.”

In terms of the logistics of the site, two huge turbines help manage the flow of water, with each processing 15 tonnes of water per second.

All work is done off-site and managed remotely.

Austin Flather, a consultant involved with the project, said: “The turbines are the clever but invisible part.

“They are highly-efficient at extracting the maximum amount of energy and turning it into electric energy which we ultimately send out to the wider world.

“This is the biggest of its kind in Yorkshire and arguably one of the biggest in England.

“They are substantial turbines in here, and they process 30 tonnes of water per second.”

Mr Boycott, who was born in Fitzwilliam, admitted he was a fan of anything that produces clean power.

As he unveiled a special commemorative plaque, he said: “If it’s so good for the fishing industry and it’s renewable energy, then why aren’t we building more of them on the rivers?

“There’s lots of rivers in Yorkshire so it just makes sense.”