Havannah Weir Sketch

Community energy to help power major business in Congleton

18 March 2020

Not-for-profit organisation, Dane Valley Community Energy, is planning to install and operate a hydro-electric generation plant on the River Dane at Havannah Weir, Congleton.

The weir, which has been in place for more than 250 years, will be re-used to generate energy from rainwater – making clean, renewable power that will have a positive impact on the environment.

Siemens Digital Industries, a major business in Congleton, has agreed to purchase the green electricity generated from the plant, helping them to combat the climate emergency.

Funding for the plant is being raised through a community share ownership scheme. Any surpluses from the sale of the green electricity will be used to support local projects that focus on creating a sustainable environment.

The hydro-electric generation plant will remain in place for many years, meaning that the community will continue to benefit from the sustainable energy it will produce.  The plant will also be a valuable educational resource to increase awareness of environmental issues for local children.

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “In May 2019, the council noted the UK declaration of a climate emergency and committed to being carbon neutral by 2025. 

Cllr Nick MannionAs part of this commitment, we will encourage all businesses, residents and organisations in Cheshire East to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption and promoting healthy lifestyles.

“We therefore welcome this scheme as an example of how local communities can make a real impact on the future sustainability of the borough.”

Paul Guymer, chair of Dane Valley Community Energy said: “About three years ago local volunteers with professional backgrounds in engineering, management and finance formed Dane Valley Community Energy with the aim of promoting projects to increase the awareness of climate change issues. 

“The Congleton hydro-electric scheme is the first such project, which has now been fully designed and costed, and has all of the permissions necessary to build and operate.  Not only will the project deliver carbon-free power, but it will also generate funds for local community projects and environmentally focused educational initiatives for adults and school children alike. 

“We want as many people, organisations and businesses as possible, especially locals, to become members of the society and support this community hydro scheme.” 

Andrew Peters, managing director of Siemens Digital Industries, Congleton said: “Siemens have been supportive of this project from its inception.  It provides an excellent opportunity for business and the local community to work together to provide practical solutions to the environmental problem of global warming which is affecting us all.

“Our manufacturing site at Congleton is always striving to improve its sustainability by reducing carbon emissions and to enhance its interactions with the local community. 

“This project will achieve this and also strengthen the extensive efforts we already make to encourage local school children to participate in scientific and technical studies by providing a tangible educational resource for use by local schools and colleges.”

If you would like to support the Congleton hydro-electric scheme, you can read more information at: www.congletonhydro.co.uk