A luxury Lake District spa resort is now generating its own electricity thanks to a hydropower project driven by a water fed turbine.
Drawing on the natural water supply from a fellside beck, English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues has installed the turbine at its flagship Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa at Windermere.
An 860 metre pipe is carrying water at up to 79 litres per second to the turbine, which is housed in a Lakeland-style dry stone building.
The hydropower system is fully automatic, with the turbine adjusting the flow through the jets according to the available water.
It is expected to generate a power output equivalent to powering 50 homes a year.
Tim Berry, of English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, said: “This is the latest environmental initiative at the resort, designed to tap into the natural energy source of the fellside beck we have on site.
“We’re already on target to create enough energy for about a third of our electricity needs for the venue.
“Combined with the 2,000 trees we planted here at Low Wood Bay in memory of my father Michael, we will now be offsetting 500 tonnes of CO2 per year.
“Run-of-the-river hydro-electric projects like this are more environmentally friendly and we have gone through a rigorous environmental checklist to ensure that there are no adverse effects on the environment and that scenery and wildlife are unaffected.
“We’ve received invaluable help and support throughout the project from the turbine manufacturers, Hydrolite Ltd.
“They are experts at working with local communities and smaller sites to establish sustainable energy from renewable sources.”
Hydropower utilises the kinetic energy of water flowing downhill to drive a turbine that creates the electricity.
A key advantage of hydro energy over wind or solar power is that energy production is continuous and less dependent on changeable weather conditions. It also offers the
capability to respond very quickly to fluctuations in demand.=
English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues has worked with the Lake District National Park Authority and the Environment Agency on the project, with
Penrith based GPHL as lead contractor and Ellergreen Hydro as principle designer.