Renewable Energy Support Scheme – Public Consultation 2015

Update! The department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources have extended the public consultation until 18 September 2015.


Two public consultation documents, published by Minister for Energy Alex White on Friday 31st July 2015 seek views on the renewable energy technologies that currently receive financial support from the State, and whether the Government should broaden the range of technologies it supports. One consultation focuses on renewable electricity technologies, while the other focusses on renewable heat systems.
The future of energy is in your hands!

The future of energy is in your hands!

The consultation on renewable electricity supports says that, while wind energy will continue to make an important contribution to meeting Ireland’s renewable energy targets, it should be complemented by other technologies to meet the country’s renewable energy ambitions. It says these could include bioenergy, solar, offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies if they are both technically feasible and cost effective, and says the consultation will help determine whether supports are necessary to develop these technologies.
The consultation will also explore the potential and value of providing supports to micro-generation and smaller community-based projects.
The Renewable Heat Incentive consultation document proposes a renewable heat incentive (RHI) to encourage larger industrial and commercial heat users to switch to systems that produce heat from renewable sources, including biomass. It will inform an assessment of the feasibility of various technologies deployed to produce heat from renewables and tariffs “at a level that represents the most cost effective transition to the levels of renewable heat required.”
The consultations will help determine the criteria for financial support schemes to replace existing programmes, including the REFIT schemes, which expire at the end of this year. They both emphasise the importance of citizen and stakeholder engagement in the development of renewable energy policy and infrastructure.
Renewable Energy Support Scheme - Public Consultation 2015

Renewable Energy Support Scheme – Public Consultation 2015

 Minister White said: “Encouraging the use of renewable electricity and heat sources will help us meet ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and tackle global warming. The energy White Paper, which I will publish in October, will set us on a path to transform Ireland’s energy production and consumption patterns so that, by 2050, our system will be largely decarbonised. One objective is to develop and broaden the range of renewable energy technologies at our disposal, which will also drive innovation and create green jobs.
“Our energy transition must respect citizens, who recognise the need to stop global warming, but who may also be concerned about the impact of energy technology and infrastructure on their communities. These consultations give everyone the opportunity to express their views on the renewable electricity and heat technologies that Government could support, before any decisions are made.”
The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources, as well as 12% of heat demand and 10% of transport fuel. Last October, the European Council reached political agreement on a target of a 40% reduction in European greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The agreement committed the EU as a whole to increase the proportion of energy it gets from renewable sources to 27%.
The consultation will remain open until 17:30 Friday 11th September.
Submissions may be made in writing to
Alternatively submissions may be made in writing to:
Decarbonisation Division
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,
29-31 Adelaide Road,
Dublin 2
D02 X285
For more information see:

Laser cut waterwheel designed and installed to generate electricity.

The waterwheel is an ancient device that uses flowing or falling water to create power by means of a set of paddles or buckets mounted around a wheel. A waterwheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of paddles or buckets  arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface. Most commonly, the wheel is mounted vertically on a horizontal axle. Prior uses of water wheels include milling flour in gristmills and grinding wood into pulp for paper making, but other uses include hammering wrought iron, machining, ore crushing and pounding fibre for use in the manufacture of cloth.

Traditional waterwheel

Traditional waterwheel

On occasion the old water wheel is still insitu and can be refurbished but in many cases the wheel has been removed and sadly sold for scrap metal value or taken apart to be kept as keepsakes or used as garden ornaments. If a mill has a vacant wheel pit it is possible to construct a water wheel which is aesthetically pleasing and bring the character back to the old mill. On some old mill sites access to the wheel pit is confined and in cases like this the preferred option is a bespoke laser cut waterwheel.

Components of a laser cut waterwheel

The spokes, rims and buckets are all fabricated from pre-galvanised sheet finished with polyester powder coating. These lightweight components were easily and rapidly assembled using stainless steel nuts and bolts without the need for welding or any special tools on site.

Laser cut waterwheel designed and installed to generate electricity.

The waterwheel arrives flat packed on site and during construction, the waterwheel components can be lifted in place without the need for heavy lifting machinery, reducing installation time and health and safety risks. This also allows assembly in areas with limited access e.g. rural areas with narrow roads.

Waterwheel instalied and generating electricity

Advantages of waterwheels

Waterwheels are widely regarded as being rather inefficient compared with turbines. This is not necessarily the case as studies have shown that waterwheel efficiency can be in excess of 80% for Overshot waterwheels and 75% for Breast-shot waterwheels [Muller 2004]. This in combination with highly respectable part-flow performance and lack of fine intake screening requirements can often result in very worthwhile overall energy capture so are still a viable proposition for producing electricity for domestic purposes. They are simple to control and aesthetically pleasing. Although they run relatively slowly and require a high ratio gearbox to drive a generator, for low powers – say below 5kW – and heads below 3m, they are worth considering.

Water wheels are also safe for the passage of fish.

  • Output reduction due to screen blockages is avoided since fine intake screens are not required.
  • Part-flow performance of waterwheels can be very good without requiring complex control systems.
  • Often minimal building work is required, particularly at former watermills if there is a vacant wheel pit.
  • Waterwheels have obvious aesthetic benefits over turbines and provide an excellent attraction at sites where visitors are encouraged.

To keep up to date with our hydropower projects or to find out more about hydropower you can  find us on Facebook or Twitter and  Google+ . To talk to one of our engineers contact us hereWe offer a turnkey service if required and would be happy to discuss your requirements.

Historic Corn Mill becomes home to an Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine

It’s been a few years now since the Archimedean screw hydropower turbine was installed and commissioned at Frensham Mill. However, I feel it gives a good insight into what can be achieved at old mill sites. You will see how the owners embraced hydropower and then made improvements to the landscape to increase the existing wildlife and natural habitat of the site.

Mill History:

Frensham Mill is an ancient mill site dating back to at least 1217 when the mill at ‘Feresham’ is mentioned in the Bishop of Winchester’s Rent Rolls. The mill had two mill ponds to ensure that the corn mill had a constant supply of water even if the main river supply ran low; one of which was built on a small Wey tributary carrying runoff from Frensham Great Pond. This large pond feeds into the Wey about half a mile above where the mill was located. The house was re-modelled in 1928 following the demolition of the old mill. At his time a Francis turbine was used to generate electricity. When the Mill was rebuilt in 1876 it was possibly the largest in SW Surrey. The oldest building, the Granary, was renovated in 2012 along with the gardens and the hydro/ heat pump project.

Frensham Mill during the Victorian era  Photo Credit: Frensham Mill

Frensham Mill during the Victorian era Photo Credit: Frensham Mill

The owners wanted to make the most of the renewable energy potential of the old mill race.  The solution was to combine an 11kW Archimedes screw hydropower turbine with a 30kW water source heat pump. Today the mill produces 70kWh of electricity per year and 90kWh of heat, saving over 50 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.

Installing the Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine  Photo credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

Installing the Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine      Photo credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

The Mill had been a barrier to migratory fish for hundreds of years. In order to improve migratory fish passage the Environment Agency specified a fish pass and upgraded stream to link upstream and downstream for the first time in hundreds of years to encourage trout, eels etc. The river banks were restored and the water meadow was reinstated with wild flowers. Around 10% of the river’s flow is directed down the fish pass and into an old ditch to provide a link between upstream and downstream. A series of 10 gravel pools were installed to step down the levels to the mill pond, providing areas of gravel as potential spawning areas.

Archimedean Screw commissioned and generating electricity   Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

Archimedean Screw commissioned and generating electricity Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

The green sand river banks had become severely eroded and were restored with an environmentally friendly planted coir roll system. With the environment utmost in their minds the owners decided to restore the river banks with this system designed to provide an enhanced aquatic habitat both above and below the waterline. Posts were driven into the river bed and pre-planted coir rolls were then placed on top of willow screening and back filled. Today the new banks have become very established.

River bank restoration at Frensham Mill  Photo Credit: Frensham Mill

River bank restoration at Frensham Mill         Photo Credit: Frensham Mill

A survey of the site also found evidence of Serotine & Brown Long Eared bats.  A light proofed area and improved access tiles were installed in the main roof as part of requirements to enhance their habitat. A survey found an established badger trail along the eastern boundary of the site ( that was left undisturbed by the works). Water voles and kingfishers have also been spotted on site.

Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

Completed hydropower project                   Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

And the Archimedean  screw is now set in a garden intended to reflect the spiralling curves of the screw. The water meadow is in the process of restoration with a plan to plant over one acre of wild flowers.

Archimedes set in a garden designed to reflect the spirals of the turbine

Archimedes set in the garden designed to reflect the screw spirals   Photo Credit: Frensham Mill

Once again we see the Ancient power of Archimedes being used for hydropower generation because if it’s fish-friendly credentials. The Archimedean Screw turbine provides a fish-friendly alternative to conventional turbines, ideally suited to low-head (1m-10m) sites, and sites with fish protection issues. Extensive fish passage tests have conclusively demonstrated that the large water chambers and slow rotation of the Archimedean Screw allow fish of all sizes, and debris, safe passage through the turbine. As a result, the Environment Agency has agreed that no screening is required.

To keep up to date with our hydropower projects or to find out more about hydropower you can  find us on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ . To talk to one of our engineers contact us here

A return visit to Penllergare Valley Woods hydropower scheme

On our recent trip to the London we decided to bring the car and take the ferry to Fishguard to visit some of the hydropower sites we have worked on over the last year. Our first port of call was a visit to Penllergare Valley Woods, a picturesque landscape hidden away in a steep valley just a stone’s throw, yet a world away, from the M4 in north Swansea.

The Archimedean Screw along side the man made waterfall

The Archimedean Screw along side the man made waterfall

As part of the upgrade and restoration of Penllergare Valley Woods a 30kW Archimedean Screw Hydro Turbine was installed to ensure a sustainable future for Penllergare Valley. A little over a year ago the hydropower scheme was commissioned and is now generating clean green electricity to power the new visitor centre with excess being sold back to the national grid. The Archimedean Screw with a length of 11m and a capacity of 2880 m3/h is situated next to the waterfall. The enclosed compact design was the preferred design of screw for this particular site as the design minimised the installation cost and doesn’t intrude on the existing landscape.

30kW Archimedean Screw

30kW Archimedean Screw

With its lakes and waterfalls, terraces, panoramic views, exotic trees and shrubs, this forgotten Victorian paradise is being slowly restored and brought back to life by the Penllergare Trust. Penllergare Valley Woods was once a famous gentry estate and home to John Dillwyn Llewelyn, the notable 19-century horticulturalist, philanthropist and pioneering photographer. It is Llewelyn’s design, vision and influence behind the picturesque and romantic landscapes of the park.

A return visit to Penllergare Valley Woods Hydropower schemePenllergare Valley Woods is a place where you can enjoy the sound of birds, delight in the profusion of wild flowers, discover evidence of exotic plantings and uncover for yourself the hidden features of a grand design. Wildlife research carried out by Swansea Council has found the estate is very significant for amphibians and acts as a “corridor” for animals to thrive and move about.

One of the many ancient Rhododendrons in full bloom

One of the many ancient Rhododendrons in full bloom

Through hard work, persistence and community spirit by local volunteers and with the financial support of sponsors and the Friends of Penllergare membership scheme, they have been working hard over the last decade or so to maintain and to restore the Penllergare landscape to the romantic style shown in the photographs of John Dillwyn Llewelyn who created it. The rhododendrons, the legacy of the ‘plant hunting’ Dillwyn Llewlyn family in the 19th centurywere a popular sight along every walk way.
Beautiful woodland walk

Beautiful woodland walk

It was obvious throughout our visit that volunteers had been working hard replanting specimen trees and ornamental shrubberies which had been lost from the existing landscape. They have also been thinning and managing areas of dense trees and shrub to reopen historic views.
A return visit to Penllergare Valley Woods hydropower scheme
Visitors can enjoy over 12km of walks including along the Carriage Drive to the now demolished former home of the Dillwyn Llewelyn family, and also down into the gorge where the family created the upper lake with a stunning man made waterfall. Paths and tracks lead on down alongside the afon Llan as it meanders its way to Fforest fach.
A return visit to Penllergare Valley Woods Hydropower scheme
A return visit to Penllergare Valley Woods Hydropower schemeThroughout the last few years the upper lake has been de-silted, and steps, terraces, the stone-arched Llewelyn bridge, waterfalls and cascades have been repaired and restored to reinstate the picturesque and romantic design.
Some of the many ancient trees

Some of the many ancient trees

A return visit to Penllergare Valley Woods hydropower schemeUsing photographic evidence from the 19th century, the old stone bridge was recreated in the traditional style by local stonemasons.

The original stone bridge

The recreated stone bridge

After walking for hours and checking out the Archimedean Screw we spent some time browsing through the information books and leaflets in the visitor centre and then enjoyed a cup of coffee at the small cafe which has stunning views from the cafe terrace to the upper lake. If you’re ever in the area it is well worth a visit. Dogs are also welcome 🙂 🙂

Mills & Millers of Ireland Summer Event –Saturday 4th July 2015

The Society of Mills and Millers of Ireland was launched in 2001 to encourage and assist in the preservation and appreciation of mills as part of our industrial, architectural and landscape heritage. There are hundreds of mills and mill sites spread across the country and while many are beautifully refurbished or put to good use, there are also many others which could be restored or renovated while preserving their traditional context. The society aims to promote interest and awareness in this aspect of Ireland’s industrial heritage by building up knowledge and expertise in areas such as law, architecture, renewable energy and manufacturing and making information available through publications, lectures and events.

Old Mill Coffee Shop, Upperlands

Old Mill Coffee Shop, Upperlands

The Old Mill Coffee Shop is based in the heart of the Historic Linen Village of Upperlands and opened in March 2013 it is a restored beetling mill bursting with character. The beetling mill is situated beside the coffee shop, this is said to be the only commercial beetling mill in the world!

Beetling Mills Coffee Shop

This year’s Summer event is a one day event taking place on the 04th July in the lovely countryside of County Derry. It’s going to be a very active day with visits to several local mills, a tour of the Beetling Mill in Upperlands and a talk by Mr. Douglas Lamont followed by a visit to the Clark family. After lunch the group will visit Barney and Michael Lagan, Upperlands. Take a look at the timetable to see the list of interesting events that have been organised.

Mills & Millers of Ireland Summer event 2015

Mills & Millers of Ireland Summer event 2015

Fee for the day including refreshments and lunch: €25 per person.

To book:
(A) Download a booking form here and return to: Hon. Treasurer Mr. John Delaney, Ballingard Road, Roscommon, County Roscommon (Cheques payable to MMOI)

(B) Pay for the event using the PayPal secure online payment option button. Please select the number of places from the drop down menu.

Telephone enquiries: S. Bourke