Work is underway on a new 500kW hydro project on the River Calder at Kirkthorpe in West Yorkshire, UK, with the project expected online later this year.

The £5.3m hydropower scheme is Yorkshire’s largest-ever low head hydroelectric project. It is being built and will be operated by Kirkthorpe Hydropower Ltd, a subsidiary of Barn Energy. Yorkshire’s ANF Consulting and JNP Group designed the project whilst the Eric Wright Group is the main civil engineering contractor.

The project will feature a single 500kW axial turbine and includes a large custom-designed inlet screen for fish passage.

The Kirkthorpe project is Barn Energy’s second project in Yorkshire. Its first, which is situated on the River Don at Thrybergh near Rotherham, entered service in October 2015) and is generating electricity at full capacity. In addition, Thrybergh’s fish passage has resulted in Atlantic salmon being seen upstream at Aldwarke Weir on the eastern edge of Rotherham for the first time in 150 years.

The larger Kirkthorpe scheme is being developed on land owned by Wakefield Council and it will abstract water from the Canal & River Trust‘s Aire & Calder Navigation. As part of the consenting process, the development team worked closely with Wakefield Council, the Environment Agency, the Canal & River Trust as well as local angling groups. This collaboration is continuing during construction.

"The Kirkthorpe scheme will help to massively reduce carbon emissions in the Wakefield district," commented Cllr Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills. "By ensuring that more renewable energy is available we can help protect the local environment and provide reliable, clean energy for future generations."

The team behind the project are now hoping to secure funding for further development in the region – a £6.5m hydro project at the Brotherton Weir on the River Aire.