Hydropower initiative could yield £50k a year for Hawick, claims firm

The Cauld, gravel mounds in the river Teviot behind Hawick High School
The Cauld, gravel mounds in the river Teviot behind Hawick High School

Hawick’s Cobble Cauld has been identified as an ideal place for a hydropower installation, the town’s community council was told last week.

Adrian Clayton, a water power engineer with North Yorkshire firm Mann Power Consulting, a specialist in Archimedean screw projects schemes, gave councillors an update at their meeting last Monday on research it has been carrying out in the town.

The firm first flagged up the Cobble Cauld as being an ideal place for such a project back in 2009 while carrying out a different study for Hawick Rugby Club.

Since then, it has been working with the community council to try to determine whether the creation of an Archimedean screw at the cauld would be viable.

Between August and November, the Malton company monitored the River Teviot’s flow with gauge boards, gathering 60 measurements to give an idea of the predicted income the scheme could create.

Using that data, Mr Clayton told the community council that he would recommend a 75kw scheme with a 1.7m head screw and an annual outflow of 300,000kw hours.

He said the project would cost between £600,000 and £800,000 and could potentially be funded by a community share offer scheme.

He predicted an annual net income of more than £50,000, going by current rates.

Mr Clayton said he believes such a structure would be best placed on the south bank and at the upstream end of the weir, potentially supplying electricity to the nearby Hawick High School.

However, he warned of potential issues relating to land ownership, access for the annual common riding and preserving fish passage, all of which would have to be looked into further.

Community councillors also raised further questions about maintenance, the scheme’s lifespan and what would happen if the high school were to be relocated.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Watson McAteer also queried what would happen if the screw outlives the 20-year feed-in tariff entitlement, as well as whether the tariff coming to an end in 2019 would have an effect.

Chairwoman Marion Short said: “The issue is that there has to be ongoing communication with the different clubs and committees that have a specific interest in what is going on.”

Community councillor Jan Robertson warned: “We would also need the town to have their say, as I think a lot of people will be against it.”