The scheme, which will be built and commissioned by Hydrosense Renewables, is expected to generate approximately 305MWh of clean electricity each year, enough to power the equivalent of around 77 homes. The project has been specifically designed to benefit the local environment, including a fish and eel pass alongside the power-generating turbines.
The modern fish pass will open up the river to migratory fish species, improving connectivity and allowing fish to access prime spawning and juvenile habitats. A number of the fish species present within the River Weaver – such as pike, dace, roach and chub – migrate considerable distances in search of good spawning habitat. The eel pass, meanwhile, will enable eels – whose numbers have declined across the UK by around 80% since the 1970s – to migrate upstream to access good eel habitat.
“The fact that the Triodos bond filled so quickly confirms my conviction that investors are looking for more than just a financial return”
Dave Mann, Church Minshull Community Hydro
The Church Minshull scheme has already gained full planning permission, pre-accreditation for Feed-in-Tariff payments, and a 40 year agreement for lease. It is expected to be fully operational by October this year, with the bond being repaid on 31th December 2018, subject to a successful refinancing. The company then plans to transfer the scheme to a local community energy group next year which will enable some of the profits from the scheme to be invested locally for the remaining 40 year life of the project.
“This project allows us to harness the power of the River Weaver for clean electricity at the same time as building a new modern fish pass and an eel pass at Church Minshull Weir,” said Dave Mann from Church Minshull Community Hydro. “The fact that the Triodos bond filled so quickly confirms my conviction that investors are looking for more than just a financial return.”
Dan Hird, head of Triodos Bank Corporate Finance, also acknowledged the opportunity to create positive change as a major factor in the popularity of the bond: “this investment opportunity was snapped up quickly because investors saw that they could combine a financial return with positive local and environmental impact.”
This is the fourth run-of-river hydro project that Triodos corporate finance has worked on with the Hydrosense team. It follows the successful financing and development of a 300kW scheme on the River Dart in Devon, a 100kW scheme on the River Dove in Derbyshire, and a 280kW scheme on the River Ouse in North Yorkshire.
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