A Lake District hotel is spearheading a renewable energy project to generate its own power using a hydro-electric turbine.
Using natural water resources and gravity, English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues is installing the turbine at its flagship site on Windermere, Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa.
Using water from the beck which runs down the fell behind the venue, the hydro-electric green energy initiative is predicted to generate 180 MWh annually, which equates to around 33% of the spa resort’s current electricity usage.
The turbine will be housed in a small Lakeland style barn with dry stone walls and a slate roof within the hotel’s 45 acre fellside site, the only visible part of the project.
Tim Berry from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues explains: “Drawing on sustainable, local natural resources to generate electricity is something we’ve been keen to investigate and adopt.
“A hydro-electric turbine is probably the simplest and most effective green energy generating method, with minimal environmental impact. Water will be diverted down an 860 metre pipeline from the top of the fell, running through the turbine to generate electricity before flowing back into the beck.”
“The turbine will constantly generate a power output of 55-60 kilowatts. We’re confident this will provide up to a third of the electricity supply we currently need to run the whole resort at Low Wood Bay.”
The water will flow down the 315mm diameter pipe at as much as 79 litres per second. The fall of the water over the pipeline distance will be approximately 90 metres, roughly the height of Big Ben and almost twice the height of Niagara Falls. With the project underway, the turbine is due to be fully operational by the end of this summer.
Working with the Lake District National Park Authority and the Environment Agency, the hotel group has appointed GPHL from Penrith as the lead contractor. GPHL is another local family business which specialises in hydro-electric projects, including one on the Balmoral Estate.
Ellergreen Hydro, which has been designing and building hydro-electric and multi megawatt schemes across Cumbria and Wales for over 10 years, is the principle designer for the Low Wood Bay project.
Tim Berry adds: “Working with GPHL and Ellergreen Hydro, our aim is to ensure we meet the most stringent environmental standards and at the same time achieve an industry leading exemplar of sustainable engineering.”
“We’re also looking into ‘air source’ and ‘lake source’ heating, as well as bore holes for water supply across all our venues.”
English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues has already attained the Green Key international eco‐label for its venues and tourism facilities across the Lake District and North Lancashire, an internationally recognised accolade for its approach to sustainability and eco-tourism.
It has solar panels installed at the Lancaster House Hotel, a biomass project underway at The Wild Boar Inn and a combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa.
To find out more about the hydro-electric project, check out the video on You Tube here