Since the corn mill at Nethermills was demolished in the 1950s at least 20 Gigawatt hours of useable energy have passed over the weirs in the centre of Ayr. The Energy Agency commissioned a hydrological study in 2015 followed by a feasibility and design study by Mann Power Hydro Ltd. The result is the current construction project by Energy Agency Renewables Ltd, with TLS Renewable Consulting Ltd as project manager and Bailey Contracts Ltd as civils contractor.
The fish-friendly, 4-metre-diameter Archimedes screw will generate up to 85 kilowatts and a total of 320 megawatt hours in a typical year. Revenue from feed-in tariff and electricity sales will be used to maintain the system, the surplus supporting the fuel-poverty-and-carbon-reducing activities of the non-profit Energy Agency. If all goes well the scheme will be generating electricity by the end of 2021.
Features of the scheme:
❖ A hydro scheme providing 100% green electricity is in keeping with South Ayrshire Council’s long-term development plan to regenerate the riverside area in a sustainable way and contribute towards the Council’s Carbon Management Plan
❖ Local benefits include a source of carbon-free electricity and funds for local projects by the Energy Agency
❖ The turbine will be a local attraction on the River Ayr Way, displaying information on renewable energy generation to passers by
❖ The scheme design, including new smolt chutes and eel passes, will assist the passage of migratory salmon and eels and the installation of a fish counter in the existing fish pass will benefit the management of the River Ayr catchment fishery
❖ The scheme will prevent the emission of an estimated 147 tonnes of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas annually and continue to generate green energy for many decades, just as the watermills did from the 13th to 20th centuries