Mill Beck Hydro Project

March 2021

Mill Beck is the stream which flows into the centre of Buttermere, at the Bridge Hotel.  It is a very good candidate for a hydro project, although it will be a challenge to make it economically viable.  In 2018, a small group was set up by MBC to undertake some feasibility work on possibilities for hydro.  Border Hydro conducted an initial site search, and three becks were selected as most feasible.  These were Whit Beck, Lorton, Mosedale Beck,   Loweswater and Mill Beck, Buttermere.   Mill Beck was chosen as the most feasible of these and a further feasibility study is currently being undertaken.  (for more information see Community Energy under Community Issues on this website)

In order to access funding for a further feasibility study from the Rural Community Energy Fund, a Community Interest Company was set up, called Melbreak Renewable Energy (MRE).  MRE has had a grant of almost £20,000 from the Rural Communities Energy Fund to investigate the feasibility of this project.  We have now employed Derwent Hydro to examine installing a smaller system than previously envisaged, which is more geared towards being able to directly sell the electricity locally in Buttermere.  The study is due to report in May. 

So we are now investigation a 45kW system.  We can under current rules only sell to one prime user and the Bridge Hotel is the best candidate, being closest to the beck.  The Hotel is also working with a community based organisation, Charge My Street, which may be able to install two Electric Vehicle charge points in the car park, and the plan is that these would use hydropower if and when the project is up and running.   Any surplus will go into the National Grid.  We would ideally like to find other ways of selling the electricity locally, and this is being examined in the feasibility study.   There is still a lot of uncertainty and we have a way to go, but look forward to a future sustainable energy supply in the Melbreak Communities!  

9 January 2020

MBC Hydro Project Feasibility Summary

For further details please contact Aine Kelly email address akc.kelly@gmail.com

Results of the Melbreak Communities Energy Questionnaire:

See also: Community Energy