Plans for River Don hydro-dam dead in the water

Sheffield Renewables' plan to build a water-powered electricity generator at Jordan Dam on the River Don
Sheffield Renewables' plan to build a water-powered electricity generator at Jordan Dam on the River Don
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GOVERNMENT red tape has left plans dead in the water to build a water-powered generator on the River Don.

Sheffield Renewables, the group behind the proposals to transform the Jordan Dam near Tinsley Viaduct, have been forced to cancel due to ‘escalating costs’.

Work on the city’s first community-owned energy project was due to start in the summer, after £217,660 in shares were bought by supporters and the public.

The initial cost of building the dam - which would produce enough electricity to power 80 homes and save about 170 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year - was estimated to be £250,000.

But that figure soared to £750,000 after the Government’s Environment Agency increased the requirement for fish passage on the river. Sheffield Renewables had designs approved in February last year, before new rules came into force.

Emma Bridge, general manager at Sheffield Renewables, said: “No indication was given that the design we submitted would be unsuitable. We have been unable to agree a process that minimises the risk of further price increases to satisfy requirements.”

More than 160 investors, who paid between £250 and £20,000 in exchange for shares and a say in the dam, agreed to put the project on hold for the ‘forseeable future’ at the group’s AGM.

Ms Bridge said: “The board feels the risks to the scheme and investors’ money is too great, and the chance of a satisfactory outcome is too low to pursue development of Jordan Dam further.

“We want to thank all the people who have put in many hours over the past few years and the institutions which have helped develop the scheme.”

Sheffield Renewables is now turning its attention to a community-owned solar panel space somewhere in the city. Electricity would be sold off at a below market cost and profits re-invested in the local community.