May 162017

Peter Tavy Community Hydro Chair, Harry White reported an update on progress on behalf of the Peter Tavy Hydropower Committee to the Peter Tavy Parish Council AGM on 10th May 2017. He has summarised his report as follows:

In the New Year, we received the feasibility study from the independent consultants Hydromatch. There was a delay waiting for the Dartmoor National Park Authority and Environment Agency to come up with the recommendations as to what issues the scheme would need to address in order for it to be acceptable to them. This information was fed into the feasibility study to allow a costing for the project that is based on a scheme that addresses the needs of all stakeholders.

The Hydromatch Feasibility Study report demonstrates that the proposed scheme is financially viable, that it would provide a good rate of interest for the Community Benefit shareholders; provide an income for landowners whose land the pipeline ran over via wayleaves and most importantly, income for the local community from day 1. At the end of 20 years, by which point the shareholders would be paid back and the government tariff subsidy stopped, income from the scheme would drop, with projections indicating this drop being to around half of what had previously been achieved, but with the proviso that most this income would be allocated for benefit of the community, representing a significant overall increase in community income from the scheme at that point.

The PTCH committee recognises the need to communicate both the details and the significant positive benefits of the proposed scheme to the wider community, and members of the committee are as frustrated as any about the need to keep the details of the report and the discussions around the report on a confidential basis for the moment, other than releasing the most general of updates.

However, residents will understand that before presenting the proposals to the community, it is critical that all of the parties that might be affected or potentially affected by the scheme, particularly landowners and residents who’s land or property are crossed by, or near to any part of the installation, are on board with the proposals.

A particularly important issue is that of alleviating (indeed, eliminating) any potential noise blight that could be caused by the siting of a hydropower generator in the village. No-one wants this to be the a problem for any resident and we would expect the design of the generator and the generator shed to ensure that this risk was entirely mitigated. To enable us to see what is possible, the committee is organising a site visit for interested residents and parish councillors to observe measures implemented at a similar scheme located at Huxworthy, one that is sited immediately adjacent to residential property.

Meanwhile, with the advice of Hydromatch and the relevant authorities, PTCH is in the process of resolving the remaining issues. It is only then, when the scheme can be shown to be viable for the whole community and we know the full detail of the actual works involved that we will be able to provide all of the answers to the many questions that we know the community has.

There will be a public meeting and other activities where the outcome of the feasibility study will be discussed, outstanding questions from the community addressed, and the benefits of the proposed scheme to the community set out.

  • Harry White, Chair, PTCH